The first muaythai athletes to take part in The World Games entered the rings today at the Hala Orbita in the beautiful city of Wroclaw, Poland.
It was an emotional moment for the athletes and their supporters to know they are the first to bring the beautiful sport of muaythai onto the world stage.
IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan said the muaythai family has been working towards this day for a long time, and he was very proud to see the skills and talent of so many young muaythai ahletes from around the world in action at The World Games.
The shocks started early when Thailand’s Pranom ‘Manasak’ Sung-ngoen crashed out to Spain’s Kevin Martinez in a fast-paced bout. Martinez bowed down on the canvas to the vastly more experienced Thai fighter when the result was called but left the ring with a huge smile.
In the female 54kg IWGA Athlete of the Year Sofia Olofsson won her bout against Portugal’s Maria Lobo in an equally tense three rounds. Sofia pulled off some huge high-kicks, and took points on the clinch, working very well on the inside and using the ropes.
A sad story turned good for someone in the men’s 75kg division. The Ukrainian fighter who had qualified for TWG injured himself – playing soccer of all things – but his replacement Vasyl Sorokin stepped right in. He won against China’s Zhang Yongkhang in a convincing victory, putting his reach advantage to good use and firing in body kicks, followed by left hook combinations.
Another champion in the women’s division Meriem El Moubarik from Morocco lost out to America’s Janet Todd – this was a re-match of their bout during the 2017 IFMA Worlds but this time Meriem couldn’t do it. Janet said afterwards she’d been determined to go better than her bronze in Minsk.
The Polish crowd also had plenty to shout about in the ring, with Gabriela Kuzainwinska winning against Belarusian champion Liudmila Chislova on points. With her distinctive pink hair, Gabriela was looking to stand out and did so with a great display using mainly hand and elbow skills.
In the men’s divisions Oskar Siegert won in 63.5kg in great style against Belaru’s Maxim Zhuk with a powerful blow which left Maxim unable to continue – turns out the name ‘Oskar’ lends itself well to chanting!
And in the 81kg division Rafal Korczack took the win against Mexico’s Ivan Valenzeula.
The fights finished at 9pm, with everything now to play for in the semi-finals tomorrow for the remaining athletes. And so finished, muaythai’s first day at The World Games 2017.