Young muaythai athletes at the IFMA Youth Championships had a thrilling end to their adventure with the Youth Gala and funfair.
Everyone gathered in the spacious ground-floor area of the hotel which was transformed into a traditional Thai-style fun-fair. The kids competed to win funny prizes by throwing darts at balloons and making cotton-candy, as well as dancing to live music.
A buffet with traditional Thai food and brightly-coloured desserts was arranged along one side of the area.
When they were full and carrying plenty of prizes, the teams were ushered into the hotel Conference Room. This was laid-out with rows of seating, and a teenage DJ on the stage playing music to entice them in.
Almost all of the entertainment including the stunning performance by Bangkok cheer group – The Panthers – was performed by children and teenagers. As elite-level athletes the muaythai crowd really appreciated the skills and strength of the Panther’s routine, and they received a loud round of applause as they exited the stage.
The mood turned more sombre during a tribute to Jordan Coe, a young English muaythai athlete who died tragically young earlier this year. His mother Lisa came on stage as a video of his tragically short life was played, she was supported by muaythai stars from The World Games including Nili Block, Apasara Koson, Gabriel Mazzetti, and Superbon Banchamek, as well as Buakaw Banchamek.
The young athlete was known and loved for his stylish Wai Kru as much as his skills in the ring. Superbon said the young man had a more beautiful wai kru than many native-born Thai person.
Among the young athletes who received awards were American Rebekah Irwin who won three convincing victories to claim her second gold with IFMA , and young Australian Cody Robinson who was awarded the Most Outstanding Athlete (male) for Under-14.
IFMA also recognized the cities which hosted muaythai events in the past 12 months, giving the award for the Best Host City to Kazan in Russia. This beautiful city was the welcoming host for the 2016 World Cup which was highly rated by the athletes for high standards in the stadium, healthy food in the hotel, ease of transport and interesting cultural activities.
Each team received a framed Team Photo with their participation certificate and a special copy of te IFMA muaythai book dedicated to the youth and featuring mainly youth photographs.
Malaysian singer Evelyn Feroza and local start Mew also sang, and the athletes loved it when Mew performed the IFMA theme song ‘We are Muaythai’.