The second final day and the last muaythai bouts of the Arafura Games 2019 gave bitter-sweet emotions and memorable moments as teams were saying good bye to the Games, Darwin and the Darwin Convention Center which welcomed many sports for the competition.
Seven today’s finals included five Australian athletes with Zoe Putorak opening the day against Janejira Wankrue from Thailand. Qualification for the World Games 2021 was at stake and both athletes were full of determination to be the first to win the spot in 63.5 kg in Birmingham. Janejira made an impressive appearance at her previous bout finishing it in the first round against Nga Truong Thi Hong (VIE). For Zoe it was hard three round clash with Nora Cornolle (FRA). Zoe must have studied the strong side of her opponent befre the final bout and was stronger in each of three round securing confident gold for her team.
Next up in the ring was the athlete who made the Australian audience put their hands together after a spectacular defeat of the Thai opponent. Norbert Speth (HUN) was now coming to the ring against the Lloyd Dean (AUS) who had to show the strength of the Australian muaythai and counter Norbert’s attacks. Lloyd was good in defense and his punches often reached the aim, still Norbert’s elbows were hard to avoid and skillful foot work multiplied to tremendous power made Norbert the winner of the bout and the gold medal of the Games.
Damon Nelson (AUS) and Man Kongsib (THA) entered the field of play in 71 kg division and the Australian audience held their breath anticipating a hard bout with the opponent from the motherland of the sport. Man Kongsib showed his skills on the first day of the event taking part in the muaythai demonstration of pad work producing strong echo over the Darwin Convention Center when.
Man definitely impressed everyone except Damon who from the first round started to fulfill his plan for the fight. The Australian won the first round and kept going strong in the second and third sending his Thai opponent to the canvas two times with his strong punches. Confident victory and the gold medal for Damon was the result of his effort and Australia celebrated again upsetting a huge group of Thai supporters.
In the men’s division 75 kg Hungary competed against Australia with Zoltan Nardelotti and Chad Pinkey making their way to the ring cheered by the crowd of the Darwin Convention Center. It was a great bout by both athletes. It was the Hungarian who used his experience to secure the second gold for his team bringing the 100% result home with two athletes winning two gold medals. Later on Zoltan said that he took on every opportunity to polish his skills and gain experience. Winning gold medals in three events in a row – EMF Antalya Open, Baltic Muaythai Open, and now Arafura Games put Zoltan’s name into the top of the 75 kg category. It will be now the World Championships in Bangkok where Zoltan will have a chance to take on the world strongest athletes.
The next Thai-Australian standoff was between Sutita Klinlookin (THA) and the Muaythai Angel Yolanda Schmidt. This time it was the fans of the Thai athlete who had to worry for the outcome of the bout in 54 kg as Yolanda is famous fare beyond Australia for her great performance in the various tournaments defeating many champions from around the world. The final bout against Sutita was not an exception and Yolanda left nothing for a chance finishing the bout in first round adding the fourth gold medal to the result of the Australian team.
The only heavy weight bout in 91 kg division kept the audience to the very end of the competition. The current World champion Oleh Pryimachov (UKR) and current European champion Jakub Klauda (CZE) were deciding over the gold medal of the Games. The Darwin Convention Center was shaking from every punch of the two athletes showing tremendous power in the ring and for the crowd It was a completely different experience to watch these colossuses. It was Oleh who still prevailed in the bout with a little advantage in each round. As a result team Ukraine became the second best team after the host Australia and can definitely report about the success of their trip all the way to Oceania for this bright competition.
The medal ceremonies reminded the audience again that they say good bye to the muaythai competition in Darwin. For every athlete of the Arafura Games it will be an unforgettable memory about Australia and for IFMA a matter of pride as it gives an opportunity to so many teams travel to the so many parts of the world to celebrate sport and build bridges among cultures.