The 2019 IFMA Muaythai Awards Ceremony gathered all delegates of the World Championships to celebrate the virtues of Olympism in its various forms and philosophies; honour the Spirit of Sport; and pay tribute to the outstanding sport personalities, from the legends of the past, to today’s heroes and tomorrow’s champions. The event welcomed many delegates from the sporting family, the IOC, the ITA, diplomats, representatives of the Royal Thai Government, muaythai representatives from 99 countries, especially the athletes whom are the heart & soul of the sport.
The 2018 Gala took place in Mexico, so this year the Grand ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel was filled to the last seat. The evening began at the cultural square where all delegates tasted local food and played games before gathering in the ballroom for a real Oscar-style awards show. The evening was hosted by word renowned Master of Ceremonies Grant Waterman. It was an evening of glamour where the world’s leading athletes and host cities were honoured with most awards presented by athletes to the athletes.
The winners and various categories were:
Breakthrough of the Year: Zoe Putorak (AUS), Norbert Speth (HUN)
Best Host City Senior World Championships: Mexico
Best Host City Youth World Championships: Thailand
Best Sport City of the Year: Prague, Czech Republic
Best Social Initiative: Colombian Muaythai Federation
Lifetime Achievement Awards: Somchai Sripiew (THA) & Kajorn Prowsri (THA)
Rising Star of the 2019 World Championships: Konstantinos Sarkiris (GRE)
Technical Official of the Year: Erdogan Aydin (TUR)
Coach of the Year: Vitaly Tsishurou (BLR)
Federation of the Year: Turkish Muaythai Federation
Spirit of Sport Award: Team Afghanistan
Best Wai Kru: Thanavan Thongduang (THA)
Sportswoman of the Year: Bui Yen Li (VIE)
Sportsman of the Year: Jimmy Viennot (FRA)
Team of the Year: Team Russia
A special posthumous tribute was made to honour those passed. In muaythai we have a saying – if we lose someone dear to us, they are not gone, as their life and legacies, the contributions they have made, continue to live on and benefit the next generation.
Every year, we honour those who have left our table. And when someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. The final bell was rung as the entire room stood for a minute of silence.
There were many touching moments especially when the Refugee team entered the ballroom to receive a standing ovation from the IFMA world family.
The IFMA President made a touching remark, that in this world, refugees have no choice… IFMA has.
IFMA Secretary General was inducted into the IFMA Hall of Fame in recognition of the in valuable work he has done in the development of the sport and in recognition of his passionate commitment and dedication to sport.
The evening ended with a fun after-party where all delegates came together to mark the end of a fantastic event in true IFMA style.