From one group of young sportspeople to another – the Thai football team known as the Wild Boars who survived their ordeal in a deep cave were included in the celebration of sport at the Youth Forum during the muaythai Youth World Championships. The GAISF Spirit of Sport award was presented during the Forum. The team and their coach were trapped underground for 17 days, with the young coach keeping his 12 charges healthy and in good spirits with the help of meditation. The world of sport including stars like Lionel Messi reached out to support the team and encourage them to stay strong until rescuers found them.
Many of the youth athletes taking part in the muaythai world championships were of a similar age to the young boys on the football team. And likewise for the young athletes from 50 different sports including athletics, basketball and football who joined the muaythai family for the Youth Forum.
The Forum – held at the UN ESCAP centre in Bangkok – brought the sports kids together to discuss anti-doping, bullying, gender equality and nutrition.
And in a moving segment the Wild Boars were included into the event. The boys were unable to attend in person due to taking part in a secluded Buddhist ceremony to mark their release. So they they were represented by the Governor of Maesai District Khun Somsak Kanakham who received an award from the GAISF council.
He was flanked by two students from one of the many Thai sports schools attending the Youth Forum from all over Thailand.
The award was presented on behalf of GAISF president Patrick Baumann by IFMA president Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan with GAISF vice-president and IFMA general secretary Stephan Fox
In a personal message via video link to the Forum Mr Baumann praised the boys for showing true grit and sportsmanship.
And speaking afterwards he said: It was fantastic to be a part of the United Through Youth World Forum in Bangkok, incredible to see the work started at Sport Accord grow into a gathering of 1,000 young people! Congratulations to IFMA’s Stephan Fox and his great team”
Khunying Patama, IOC member for Thailand also addressed the Forum, calling on the young people to maintain sport in their lives and celebrate health.
The Youth Forum in this format grew out of the successful United Through Sports festival held in April during the SportAccord Convention.