UAE Muaythai National Team

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IFMA: A Proud Member of the Olympic Movement



Muaythai is one of the oldest martial arts in the world. In the last two decades, it truly has gained world sport recognition. Muaythai has been included in GAISF and is also included in many regional games.

2008 was another successful year in the history of muaythai with it being one of the main sports in the TAFIS World Sport for All Games under patronage of the IOC. The sport was given the highest honour of having the competition take place inside the main stadium of the Games at which the opening ceremony for the entire games were held. Furthermore, muaythai was given the honour of having the most television coverage through out games than any other participating sport.

This event was more than just a competition for the muaythai world. It was a sports world cultural festival in which muaythai enthusiasts had the chance to learn from other countries and cultures. This is why IFMA, the world governing body for muaythai, organised a cultural exchange program which received great response from the IOC and the organising committee.

The smiles on the faces of over 1,000 kids that were invited to be part of the cultural exchange program said it all. The Privy Councilor to HM the King of Thailand, General Pichitr Kullavanijaya, honoured a representative of the children with a special mongkol.

Sport has always been a great tool to unite people from all religions. It’s a tool to forget all the differences of race, politics and nationality.  The World Sport for All Games was obvious evidence for this. All nations came together for the love of sport, and 62 participating countries did so for the sport of muaythai.

The competition itself was what everyone expected from a true world championship. Exciting fights in female, male and junior divisions and great atmosphere in the stadium. In the end though there could only be one winner per division, everyone was a winner already simply by being  part of this historical games and once in a lifetime experience. The next event is already in planning. The 2009 Arafura games in Australia in which muaythai is again one of the main sports.

Muaythai has become more than just a martial art and sport. It is a sport for “every” “body”, and with IFMA as its world governing body with its strict safety guidelines and regulations, it has become a sport for all to practise. The permanent youth development work done by IFMA ensures that the sport will grow and the standard of the competition will elevate to an even higher level. Muaythai is a fantastic spectator sport and this is why it is a vibrant addition to any games. As the standard continues to rise, the sport has shown an immense growth in popularity with television shows like The Contender Asia, in which for 15 weeks, 500 million viewers tuned in to watch the journey of 16 athletes in their quest for victory.

IFMA has the strictest guidelines for its 120 member countries with specially designed commissions and is a proud member of WADA, ensuring the spirit of fair play.  For the organisation’s part in building a brighter future, IFMA also runs a world wide campaign for Muaythai Against Drugs, also known as the MAD campaign, and awards an annual humanitarian award to recognise the good work done by its member countries.

Already recognised by GAISF, WADA and the OCA, it hopes to gain the recognition of the 5 Olympic rings in due time.