The muaythai world just enjoyed our first trip to The World Games in Wroclaw, Poland and now attention is turning to the next generation at the IFMA Youth World Championships in Bangkok.
IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuan and general secretary Stephan Fox travelled back from Poland yesterday, and met young athletes at the airport. Some teams like American and Poland have already been here for a few days to acclimatize and get in some last-minute training.
Sport Director Charissa Tynan said up to 1,100 delegates from 79 countries on all five continents are travelling to Bangkok now. This tournament is about more than sport, with education courses, and cultural exchanges on the programme.
She said a Youth Conference is planned where the young athletes can discuss the challenges facing them and compare success stories. They will spend one day visiting Thai schools and exchanging cultural skills including sports like cricket and American football as well as music and dance. One evening IFMA hosts a Nike Cultural Night with a muaythai gladiator competition, and the hotel swimming pool will be transformed into a beach for a Muay Talay (Sea Boxing) activity session.
IFMA Vice-President Sue Glassey said this event continues the tradition of mixing sport with culture. She said the large teams coming from Australia with 48 athletes, 80 from Russia, 70 from Turkey and 50 from Ukraine show that IFMA’s Ten Year Strategy to develop youth teams is already showing fruit.
Russia, Turkey and Ukraine – the winning team at The World Games 2017 – all medalled at The World Games, and it’s exciting to see they have a new crop of champions waiting in the wings. The theme of this year’s Youth Championship is ‘Reach for the Stars’ .
The first weigh-in is tomorrow and the Youth World Championships Opening Ceremony is Thursday evening at 19.00 at the National Stadium, Bangkok.