Today was an exciting day for muaythai as the IFMA athletes weighed-in for their bouts during The World Games 2017 in Wroclaw.
Athletes and their entourages from all over the world have been travelling towards Wroclaw this week, some for many days like the teams from Peru and New Zealand.
Meriem El Moubarik from Morocco said she is happy to be here and excited to represent Morocco at these Games. The three athletes from Kazakhstan said they’re determined to bring three golds home and nothing else will do. It’s the first time any of these athletes have flown their country’s flag as part of a national team at such a huge event, and many of the athletes mentioned this with delight.
The weigh-in area was just behind the accommodation so easy access for everyone. The teams are staying in student accommodation at the Economics University in Wroclaw, with long paths for running and just a short walk to food-shops for any extra food they might crave during these intense days.
At 17.00 the Team Manager meeeting took place and the all-important Draw. The room was packed, with many of the coaches also crowding around the door to see what was happening. IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan opened the meeting, reminding everyone of the importance of this particular draw for our sport of muaythai.
Among the team managers also were IFMA Vice-President Rafal Szclachta who is also head of the Polish Muaythai Federation and so host team for this tournament. Competition manager Dmitry Putilin oversaw the draw, and Vice-President Anna Vital-Melo was also present. IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox called on the teams to remember the five pillars of muaythai – excellence, fair play, honour, respect and tradition during this tournament.
Every athlete in the draw for muaythai at The World Games 2017 brings with them a list of titles including in many cases World titles so many of the bouts drew a buzz of conversation. There are just 11 weight divisions here for IFMA; eight for men ranging from 54kg to 91kg and three for women ranging from 51kg to 60kg.
But as this is fewer than the normal IFMA Championships, some divisions contain more than one champion as athletes worked to qualify for the division closest to their weight. For example the women’s 60kg division sees Israel’s two-time World Champion Nili Block and also Swedish world champion Isa Tidbald.
Among the clashes people are looking forward to tomorrow are in the women’s 51kg Thailand’s Apasara Kosorn faces Myriamee Djedede from France in a re-match of a keenly contested bout at the 2017 World Championships. And in the 75kg male division Belarus’ World Champion Vital Hurkou faces Portugal’s champion Diogo Calado again as they did in Minsk. All of Team Poland are in action tomorrow with one athlete in each division and no doubt their home crowd will be out in force to support them.