Muay Thai with its strong youth appeal, receives provisional recognition as Olympic sport by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The provisional recognition is a first step on a long road to becoming a future Olympic sport. Such recognition is given for a period of three years. During that time, the IOC executive board can recommend full recognition.
Muay Thai will receive $25,000 in annual funding from IOC. It can also take part in numerous programmes, that includes athlete development and anti-doping.
Together with Muay Thai, the Competitive Cheerleading is also provisionally recognized by the IOC. They take the number of recognized Olympic sports to 37.
“Muaythai is an organisation with 135 national federations, nearly 60 are recognized by their national Olympic Committees and nearly 400,000 registered athletes,” said IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell.
“The international cheer union [ICU] has over 100 national federations and nearly 4.5 million registered athletes.”
“It is a sport with growing popularity, a strong youth focus in schools and universities and we noted that,” he added.
Muay Thai and Cheerleading were among 16 sports bodies that applied for IOC recognition earlier this year.
“The door has not been shut for the other applicants,” McConnell said.
“We will continue to look at the other applications we received.”
Becoming part of the Olympic Games is a seven-year progress
Tokyo accommodates the 2020 Games. According to the new rules, the host cities can introduce sports of their choice for a one-off appearance in the Games.