An international crowd greeted the athletes entering the ring for Day 3 of muay at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, with loud support for every team.
The MITEC hall was full and colourfully decorated with national flags and heaving to the sound of cheers and songs. And the athletes didn’t disappoint with three of the six nations qualifying athletes for the finals on the 29th, and bronze medals spread across the teams.
Speaking to media at the event, the SEA Games federation president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar said the wide range of sports including muay reflects regional interests, he said Olympic sports are important but that there are no plans to change the focus from promoting regional favourites.
First to qualify in the muay ring was Malaysia’s team captain Mohd Ali Bin Yaakub (54kg) in a points win over Vann Voern of Cambodia, and he was later joined by team-mates Ain Bin Kamarrudin and Tengu Sharizal.
Cambodian champion Khun Dima won in dramatic fashion against The Philipppines Ryan Jakri in a bronze medal bout at 63.5kg, and his fellow Khmer athlete Meun Sophea defeated home favourite Muhamad Samsi Bin Mohd at 71kg.
Team Thailand will also be strongly represented in the finals after Surachai Nakthaem defeated Laos athlete Seuaphom Thongbang in a tight battle taking the win on just 29:28 points. Vietnamese champion at 57kg Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat lost out to Thailand’s Thachtana Luangphon on points by 30:27.
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