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It was a five star event with many VIPs travelling to Bangkok in order to take part. The fact that the president of SportAccord, Mr Hein Verbruggen, the President of AIBA and IOC Executive Board Member, Dr Chin Kuo Wu, and the President of the International World Games, Mr Ron Froehlich all sat ringside, shows the respect which Muay Thai has earned in recent years.
The souvenir program was filled with messages from sporting personalities, including the President of the Olympic Council of Asia, HRH Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand donated a trophy for the Super-4, which was won by Thai star Saiyok. The Prime Minister of Thailand donated the female trophy, which went to Australia’s own Caley Reece (pictured).
The event was also the live launch of the Muay Thai anthem, We are Muay Thai performed in English by lovely Sevara Nazarkhan, Uzbekistan’s famous songbird.
Muay Thai has truly gained world recognition. According to international sporting protocol, recognition from the IOC can only be granted to the World Muay Thai Council and the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur, as the sole recognised Muay Thai federations (professional and amateur respectively) in the world.
In 2006, Muay Thai became an official, world-recognised sport, with its inclusion in SportAccord (at the time known as GAISF), earning the right to sit at the same table as all other recognised sports federations, such as FIFA for football and IRB for rugby.
The WMC Vice President and IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox, in an interview with IK, said that a lot of work remains to be done in areas such as fair play. As a fully recognised member of WADA, Muay Thai aims to stay strictly compliant and grow even stronger. Muay Thai must continue to grow in female and youth development, an all members of the Muay Thai family must promote Muay Thai not just as a ring sport, but as a way of life.
Stephan Fox continue by saying that Muay Thai is ready for the application process and that its 128 member countries are united, and recognised, such as in Australia, where Muay Thai is recognised by the Australian sports commission. Once Muay Thai earns IOC recognition, the Australian Olympic Committee will most likely also recognise Muay Thai.