The second round of the Bangkok Urban Tournament took place last weekend with youth teams meeting again to compete in futsal, 3X3 basketball, sepak takraw, badminton and muaythai.
The Bangkok Urban Youth Tournament is the continuation of the legacy left in the wake of the SportAccord Convention 2018 in Bangkok where charity, social and sports organisations such as United Through Sports, EXtreme Sports and Right To Play united to launch a multi-sports event to bring kids from different socio-economic backgrounds on to a shared field of play.
All hands were on deck with officials and coaches from the Badminton Association of Thailand, International Federation of Muaythai Amateur, Sepak Takraw Association of Thailand, Thailand Basketball Association, Thailand Department of Physical Education and the Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand volunteering their time to provide the various sports for the youths to partake.
IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan was representing Thailand, Khun Paisan Rangsikitpho from the Badminton Association of Thailand represented the Chair of the event Khun Ying Patama, Vice President of the World Badminton Federation and IOC Member. GAISF was represented by Vice President Stephan Fox and Right To Play by Asia Director Niamh De Loughry.
One of the highlights of the events was the fact that a team of refugee kids were once again given permission to leave the camp to travel to Bangkok. They received a warm welcome from al the other kids which again was a mixture of kids from IFMA’s social programme Sport Is Your Gang, local schools, international schools and Right to Play. Many other sports celebrities were there including one of Germany’s former leading Ice Hockey player and former NHL Player Jan Benda who also brought his own kids along to partake in the various sports activities on hand.
So many emotional moments and sports rivalries were present at the field of play as the second round brought teams closer to the final of the tournament. The youth were truly playing with heart and sportsmanship. It was a proud moment when after the end game was announced all the teams gave each other a hug and a shook hands as a sign of respect and gratitude for the great rivalry on the field. The commemorative awards went to the winners who are moving to the final on 28 July.
Regional Director of Right To Play Niamh De Loughry said that she was so proud of the refugee team which traveled so far to play with the Bangkok teams. It was a true achievement to bring the kids all this way, to give them to opportunity to play sports together with the youths from different communities giving them new lifelong memories and friends.
IFMA Director Ms. Charissa Tynan said that the second edition of the tournament has seen an incredible growth from the first round with action taking place simultaneously over the three fields of play. It’s truly a legacy of SportAccord reborn in the location of IFMA’s pilot project, Sport Is Your Gang in Bangkok, and the event has the real potential to continue for many years to benefit the youth from all walks of life.
Another successful event concluded with smiles and great moments, and IFMA again can take pride of laying the foundation of another initiative to give a chance to kids to be part of something larger than themselves.
The next round next early next month will see more teams vying for a spot at the finals which will take place on July 28th in honour of HM the King’s birthday, and teams from around 100 countries participating at the IFMA Senior World Championships will be attending the games and supporting the young athletes.