Who would like to train on powder white beaches on a tropical island with some of Thailand’s most outstanding instructors in a family like atmosphere? This was the dream of some pioneers to open up the world famous Lamai Gym near the beach on the beautiful island of Koh Samui.
For over 30 years the original Lamai Gym opened as a fitness and muaythai facility then 23 years ago Ralph Beale followed his dream with some Thai partners to purchase a rundown bungalow resort, building over the years the Lamai Gym.
In 1998 the gym was officially opened by the President of The World Muaythai Council, General Chetta Thanajaro, and the IFMA President General Worayut and what started with rundown facilities developed over the years into a muaythai training center with 3 rings, a fully equipped weights gym, a health restaurant and 26 bungalows for the athletes to stay in.
It was a gym of pioneers and the who’s who of muaythai. Ralph Beale stated that the WMC camp gave scholarships to athletes from around the world and there it was that so many athletes developed into superstars, the likes of Amy Birch, Paul Slowinski, Dzhabar Askerov, Valentina and Antonina Shevchenko, Giorgio Petrosyan, Alexey Ignashov, and the list goes on.
Mr Beale continued, the purpose of the institution is to promote all aspects of muaythai to protect the traditional rules supporting muaythai’s journey towards Olympic recognition and also making a place for muaythai for fitness so the gym offers something for every lover of muaythai.
It is a family atmosphere as you can stay in the comfortable bungalows with only a 3-minute walk to the beach, do your morning and afternoon sessions, participate in Wai Khru special classes, visit the fitness centre or just relax in the restaurant.
The camp from the beginning was under the training supervision of Ajarn Manop (Hannarong) who is known as a former fighter but also for his outstanding training ability as the head coach of both Contender Asia and the Challenger Muaythai and has taught in over 70 countries around the world. Manop has a degree in physical education and he trains the trainers. There have been so many top trainers including the late Nokweed Davy, one of the top 10 all time greatest of Thailand, Ajarn Gae who now travels around the world, Khru Petch, and the list goes on.
Some of the world’s best bring their national teams to Koh Samui for competition preparation and Lamai camp was probably one of the first camps in Thailand to give scholarships to female athletes such as Amy birch. From there she became one of the first athletes in muaythai to receive the Queen’s Cup in Thailand.
Ralph Beale further stated that 23 years is just the beginning. Lamai camp under the patronage of the WMC will continue to support muaythai to ensure the next generation of muaythai athletes and the ones who have trained or been part of the Lamai family will always be in the family.