Youth team Palestine attended the Youth muaythai World Championships for the first time this year in Bangkok, taking home silver and bags of dreams.
The seven-strong team of boys were unsure what to expect, but after their first bouts realised that they were on the right track. Ultimately Ahmed RM Hela won silver in the 16 – 17 age bracket, and the others learned from competing at this level.
Team Ahmad Abudukhan said that since 1999 the muaythai and kickboxing federations in Palestine have combined in one group working together.
He said: ‘When we looked at muaythai, we thought that here is a sport which lets our bodies talk, you can use all of your body to express what you are doing and if you are weak in one area then you can be strong in another. It’s powerful.
‘Muaythai is a good sport, it shows the children how to use their bodies in a peaceful way. ‘
He said that for his team it’s important to come to an event like IFMA and see the standard of international champions.
He said: ‘This is our first time with IFMA, we are very happy with the experience. We want our champions to experience and learn, we are not thinking about medals now. We want them to experience their first steps in their muaythai trip, we are proud of them.
‘We also have a referee here Mr Adnan HUsary, this is an important experience for him to be part of this work. Our general secretary Shaker Al-Sharouf is here too.’
Ahmad said there are 12 full-time muaythai gyms in Palestine, with more athletes joining all the time especially since IFMA took part in The World Games last month, and became IOC-recognised last year.
The senior team competed at the Arab Championships in Lebanon, the Moroccan Championships and in Jordan.
Ahmad said unfortunately the President of the Federation General Abu Ahmad Ziadeni was unable to join them but he wished all the athletes well in their journey.
Ahmad said: ‘We want the team to go back home and feel they have learned something about the movement of muaythai, that they have been part of something here. I tell them that it’s not important to win a medal here, but if they feel they have done well themselves then that is a good thing.’