The IFMA Youth World Championships 2016 opened with a colourful ceremony under the united message of, “One World, One Muaythai” advocating a message of respecting each other regardless of differences. 62 countries with proud athletes marched into a standing ovation and rousing applause from the stadium, chaired by the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Thailand HE Kobkarn Wattanvrangkul.
Her Excellency made an emotional speech speaking from her heart. She welcomed the youth of the world, applauding the athletes for respecting the five pillars of our sport. The Minister graciously thanked IFMA’s partners, UNESCO and UN Women, for their combined efforts in channeling Muaythai into making an immense social contribution to bettering the world.
Her heartfelt speech touched the hearts of the young world athletes, putting a smile on their faces as they applauded her.
Various other speakers welcomed the youth, including the Permanent Secretary, the Director of the Department of Physical Education and certainly IFMA President, Dr Tapsuwan; who welcomed all the athletes stating that it was their time to shine and that IFMA is proud of their youth, their ambassadors and that we are assured that the future of the sport is safe.
There were various cultural and entertaining dance performances of light and splendour, make the evening fun and thrilling for the youth. For the final performance, the boxers gathered close to the stage area, faces enrapt as they watched.
Minister Wattavrangkul rang the bell declaring the Youth World Championships open and starting off a great week of friendly competition, cultural exchange and sporting friendship.
To the surprise of the ministers’ handlers, an impromtu photo session followed as many of the athletes posed for selfies with Minister Kobkarn – the younger kids delighted to see she could pose in the Muaythai guard as well as any athlete.