Fatima Pinto entered the world of muaythai some 10 years ago and has never looked back. Her quintessential journey from athlete to administrative executive is what IFMA is all about. It is when an athlete takes this passionate and dedicated progression through their lives in the sport that ensures that the athletes literally remain at the heart of the organisation at the highest levels.
During her career as an athlete, Fatima secured her rank as one of the top females in the sport winning medals at the most elite level tournaments; bronze medallist at the 2010 World Combat Games and gold medallist at the 2013 World Combat Games. Following her retirement from the competition side, Fatima continued her trajectory to the top of the administrative side, when she was elected as President of the Norwegian Muaythai Federation in 2015.
We took some time to talk to Fatima about her transition from athlete to administrator…
Q1. Walk us through your transition from athlete to NF President.
I got to know Muay Thai first time in 2006, so I am going on 10 years with the “love of my life”.
I am very happy to have been a quite successful athlete, both in Norway and international. Of course it has taken a lot of hard work and some sacrifice, but has been very rewarding personally. Unfortunatly since Muay Thai is still small in Norway, I cannot make a living as an athlete alone. I also work as a physiotherapist and run the gym Fighters Lab in Oslo (capitol of Norway) together with my boyfriend.
I have been active in Norways NF (NMTA) for serveral years, I think since 2010, but I have had smaller roles. In the late summer of 2015 our former president left his position and I stepped in as the leader of the NF. I am working on getting an overview of the organizational work and I am trying to do my best to lead Norways Muaythai, besides a lot of other things, but I am thankful I enjoy having a lot to do. I am still active as an athlete, hopefully for a couple of more years.
Q2. What is your vision for muaythai in Norway for the future?
The biggest vision I have for Muaythai in Norway is to get our sport fully recognised by NIF (our national sports federation) and by doing so make sure that athletes will be able to practice our sport to the full, also within our own borders.
I also have a vision to join all Norwegian Muaythai gyms under one banner – NMTA/IFMA, and better the cooperation between the gyms.
I want to increase the knowledge of Muaythai in the general public. I want to make it easier to focus on the sport and to live as an athlete in our sport so that we can produce more successful fighters.
Q3. How does it feel to be one of Norway’s most outstanding and successful partial artists?
Well, Norway is a land of skiing and football, where the martial arts are still very small in comparison. I am very proud to have been able to have the success I have had, despite this. For me the personal achievement is what matter the most, being able to be better than I was yesterday. At the same time I am glad to put a (happy) face to the sport in our country and I am honoured to be able to inspire other athletes of both genders, but maybe especially girls.
I still feel it’s a little bit strange when people talk about me being world champion etc. I was best at those exact moments, I enjoyed it for a little while, and then it was back to the drawing board for the next challenge. In between I am just me.
It makes me very happy, proud and honored to be able to do and to be good at what I love and to see that people are interested in, and follow me in my achievements in the sport.