Over a decade ago, IFMA began the Sport Is Your Gang initiative to create projects for youth from challenged backgrounds and/or impoverished locations to create safe playgrounds. The initiative has seen locations open up from Thailand to Mexico to Peru to the Philippines and many more. In 2014, IFMA received the prestigious Spirit of Sport Award and was the first non-Olympic sport to receive this honor.
We are living in the middle of a pandemic, which has affected all of us. IFMA President, Dr. Sakchye Tapsuwan, stated, “Now more than ever we must stand in solidarity and unity especially for our youth.”
IFMA Vice President, General Udomdej, praised the initiative and stated, “It is important that we reach out for one another within all our communities, especially the ones in need. To be as much included as inspired.”
Over the last 3 months, the IFMA team, with the help of their partner organizations Right to Play and United Through Sports, have rolled up their sleeves and went into one of the most challenged communities in Bangkok to build, support and donate a gym for the youth of that area.
Everyone came together for the opening to support and be there from IFMA President, Dr. Tapsuwan, Vice President Udomdej, IFMA EB Member, Khun Kajorn, the owner of famous Rangsit Stadium, Khun Amnuay, the Chair of Professional Muaythai, General Skunchai, the National Sports Development Fund Manager, Khun Supranee and certainly, Julia Schipper from Right to Play, the Chair of IFMA Athletes’ Commission, Janice Lyn and the General Secretary of IFMA, Stephan Fox.
IFMA General Secretary stated, “Muaythai is about giving back. It is about respect, the only time we look down on someone is to reach out to help them up and here is another IFMA project to give back to the community regardless of the circumstances.”
There were many performances from the kids of Klong Toei, a group class for the kids lead by Mongkon Academy and The Box Thailand and toys, clothes and food were graciously donated from the community. From now on, the kids have a gym so they can learn Muaythai and socialize and have access to clean toilets and showers as well.
A special thank you must go to Right to Play, the Counselor of Political and Economic Affairs, Mr. Andre Van Straten, of the South African Embassy, Ambassador Hotel, FBT and MTG and everyone else who contributed towards bringing smiles to these kids on Saturday.