The first day of competition at the 30th SEA Games saw the traditional aspects of the art of muaythai take centre stage, as the event kicked off with the Wai Kru & Mai Muay competition. Teams competed in pairs through two rounds of performances. In the women’s division Thailand took first place on the podium while in the men’s division, Philippines took their first gold at the muaythai event.
Spectators were treated to the beauty and grace, bold strength and historical roots of muaythai in today’s musical form of the muaythai competition. Teams are given 5 minutes of which 2 must be used to perform the Wai Kru, the traditional pre-combat ritual, and 3 minutes to execute a choreographed display of the ancient fighting art.
Teams are required to execute all the obligatory fundamental standard techniques and postures with precision, balance, grace and strength. Appropriate attire is also judged alongside artistry.
In the women’s division Indonesia and Vietnam performed well but were surpassed by the precision brought to the choreography by home team Philippines who secured the Silver medal and Thailand taking the gold with a vibrant display which hit all the marks.
In the men’s division Indonesia gave it their all in their first-round performance, a strategical misstep which lost them their fire in the second round where fatigue had visibly set in. Vietnam started off strong but unfortunately Nguyen Tang Quyen suffered an injury to the knee taking them out of the competition mid-way through. Malaysia came with a well timed piece, but fell short of a fiery and octane fuelled performance by home boys Calica and Gallaza who had the spectators screaming with delight. Judges agreed and scored top marks to bring Philippines the gold.