The beautiful city of Prague is welcoming muaythai teams from across Europe this week for the start of the European muaythai championships. The huge event is being held as part of the celebrations for 115 years of Harley Davidson motorbikes.
Head of the host federation Petr Ottich from the Czech Muaythai Federation said he is very proud to have so many young athletes in his city. They have been working hard for a long time to bring this event to fruition.
The local organising committee are easy to spot with the distinctive Sport Is Your Gang logo on their shirts, which are pink for this tournament.
Many of the IFMA Executive Board are in attendance to support the Czech federation in cooperation with the European Muaythai Federation (EMF) including general secretary Stephan Fox and sports director Charissa Tynan. Technical Director Dmitry Putilin has worked closely with the CMTA to ensure the consistent high standard expected at all IFMA events.
Registration and weigh-in began on Friday and continued Saturday morning, with 300 muaythai athletes registered in both male and female divisions. A number of world champions including Dmitry Valent from Belarus, Nili Block from Israel and Svetlana Vinnikova from Russia have already checked in and are ready for competition. The teams stay in one hotel which will add greatly to the atmosphere of friendship and cooperation.
There are forty teams present from both ends of the continent – Russia to Portugal with everything in between. Turkey have sent as always a large delegation, as have Ukraine and France.
The rising stars of Team Hungary who made such a big impression at the World Championships in Mexico especially Norbert Speth are here in numbers again. Host team Czech Republic of course are here and ready: Jakub Klauda defends his European title in front of the home crowd.
There are also many new athletes here this year, young people who have moved up from the Youth divisions like Teresa Moreira (Portugal). Teams from Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia , Slovakia have brought new faces as well as young athletes on the more established teams like Belarus and Italy.
Bouts start tomorrow and can be watched on the IFMA Youtube channel.
Find out about the Harley Davidson 115 celebrations.