The opening day of competition in Split, Croatia on October 24th saw some 29 great bouts in two rings including women and men. After the emotion of the opening ceremony it was time to get down to business.
Both rings saw intense action – the honour of your country is at stake not to mention those 11 places at The World Games next year!
In Ring A Oskar Siergert from Poland took on Jose Quevedo of Spain in a close battle with lots of the muaythai trademark knees from both athletes.
Another exciting bout followed soon after between Aleksandr Abramov from Russia and Turkey’s Abdussamet Ugurlu at 57kgs This was very tight with the crowd keeping a close eye on the scoreboard to keep track but the Russian athlete edged ahead taking points with powerful body-kicks and knees.
And it was worth staying to the end if you were watching Ring A for an electric bout between France and Sweden with both working inside on the clinch using the grapple to great effect. In the second round Ulrich Emmanuel from France landed a poweful punch combo working body-shots to great effect, but the Swedish athlete Erik Berglund immediately countered swinging safely into the clinch and turning the fight back again.
By the final round supporters from both countries were on the feet yelling and waving national flags as they traded kicks in the centre of the ring. Sweden took a clear win in the end.
Competition was no less fierce in the women’s bouts with athletes from ten countries competing. All referees for female fights are also women, experienced and trained to the same standards as their male counterparts.
France’s Lisiane Payet took on Tessa Kakkonen of Finland in the opening slot, with Finland taking the win. Another Finnish athlete Siiri Tura also won against Russia’s Kristina Kunznetzova in a close fight.
In the fourth fight of the day Russia’s Galina Popova battled against Therese Gunnarsson from Sweden in a epic fight that went down to the wire for decision-making. The Russian athlete worked very well on the inside using elbows to great effect. And in the end it was the clinch which won it for her, giving Galina tight one-point victory.
So in the end 29 athletes went on to the next round, and unfortunately 29 had to lose out. But we’re sure we will see them again, coming back stronger!