The Minsk Sport Palace will be the centre of the muaythai world for the next ten days, as IFMA celebrates the first world championships held since IFMA became an IOC-recognised sports federation.
The stadium was packed with athletes representing over 70 countries and muaythai fans from the capital of Belarus.
The opening ceremony was an entertaining display of dance and acrobatic skills brilliantly-lit in the centre of the arena.
The Mayor of Minsk Andrei Shorats was the first speaker, he welcomed all of the guests to the City of Minsk. He was followed by General Yury Kazaev, the chairman of the Belarus Muaythai Federation who said how proud he is to host the muaythai athletes in his home town for this exciting contest. He said he is excited that Belarus athletes have the chance to compete against the best in the world for the final muaythai spaces at The World Games in 2017.
The IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox then addressed all the athletes, hailing them as the heart and soul of IFMA adding that they as the youth are the future of the sport of muaythai. He wished them all luck for the competition, and said he hopes that life-long friendships will be made.
IFMA president Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan stated the 2017 world championships will go down in history as the first world championships for IFMA as an IOC-recognised sporting federation, and that this has been the achievement of all stake holders in the IFMA family. He called on the athletes to promote and foster the Olympic values.
He especially thanked everyone in Belarus who have contributed to this event esp the Minister for Sport and Youth and all the staff who have worked for this event, as well as the hard-work of the national federation the Belarus Muaythai Federation.
The closing address was given by His Excellency The Minister for Sport and Youth who spoke on behalf of the government. He stated that the people of Belarus proudly welcome all the muaythai family members to Minsk. The minister wished the athletes luck and hoped that they will return to every part of the world with unforgettable memories.