The 2016 Youth World Championships concluded with the Youth Awards Gala, a fantastic finale that will be etched in the memory of the youth for many years. The ballroom was lit up in lights and splendour and the smiling faces of all the well-deserved youth and participants of the competition.
The night honoured and awarded outstanding performances in and out of the field of play, with awards for athletes and teams that rose as champions within the competition and special awards for outstanding efforts in social responsibility and youth development. The gala night honoured past legends and champions that have left us but also celebrated the accomplishments and promise of the current youth who are the legends and the champions to come.
The Gala was presided over by an honoured and proud supporter of Muaythai, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, HE Kobkarn Wattanvrankul. Her Excellency stated that she not only spoke for herself but the entire kingdom that this event is a testimony that sporting and cultural exchange in Muaythai goes hand in hand and that the youth of Muaythai are not just ambassadors of the sport, but also ambassadors of peace and understanding, respecting the difference we all have. Her Excellency was proud and happy to welcome everyone back for the next edition of the Youth World Championship here in Bangkok.
The night was incredibly hosted by young and dynamic budding star Miss Imani Contado-O’Donovan, who also treated the crowd with her powerful voice in special song performances. There were also performances from team Thailand from the International Cheer Union, the sensational Question Mark band with a special tribute to the King of Thailand and many others. IFMA’s own youth performed the final winning Wai Kru and Muay Aeriobic routines, honouring the traditional elements of our sport. The entire programme of the night was hosted by the youth, while the numerous VIPS that filled the ballroom presented the awards to the youth.
The competition season saw outstanding countries going above and beyond the competitive elements of the championships. These national teams were recognised and honoured with special awards for Fair Play and Friendship, celebrating the true spirit of sport and the camaraderie within the IFMA family.
Every year, IFMA pays tribute to the fallen heroes in everyone’s life and a touching ceremony was held for one for the greatest sporting heroes of all time, Mohammed Ali.
The night rounded off with a fantastic parade from the Medal Winners showered in confetti and led in pomp and splendour by the Thailand Cheerleader group; reaffirming IFMA’s vision and focus on the youth, who are the promise of tomorrow and the bright future of the sport of Muaythai. The smiling faces of all the winners was IFMA’s reward for a great Youth World Championship and for the ones that did not make it to the podium this year, may they be inspired to come back stronger in the years to come. The IFMA representative of the Athletes’ Commission Janice Lyn from Canada summed it all up stating, “ There are no losers in Muaythai, we only learn and become stronger and the life long friendships are gold medals everyone takes home.”