Belarus welcomes the World to IFMA Muaythai 2017 in Minsk
IFMA Muaythai world championships 2017 are held in Minsk, Belarus from 3 to 13 May / Pictured: multiple world champion Vitaly Gurkov of Belarus

IFMA world muaythai championships 2017 is held from May 3 to May 13 in Minsk

This year the annual IFMA muaythai world championship is held in the historic city Minsk, the capital of Belarus. The country is known as one of the Top 3 participants the “Art of Eight Limbs”. The event marks the first time when the athletes compete under the umbrella of the International Olympic Committee. Last December Muaythai received a three-year provisional recognition as the Olympic Sport.

A few days before the start, the vice-president of the Belarusian Kickboxing and Muaythai Federation (BKBMT) Antoliy Simonchyk and the head trainer of Team Belarus Mikhail Stepanov appeared on National television, promoting the event. They spoke Muaythai as the sport, its provisional recognition by IOC as well as the expectations from the IFMA 2017.

When asked the quantity of nations partaking in the event, Simonchyk said that “to date [April 30] the representatives of 69 countries are officially registered.” He added that “such exotic places as India, Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Australia” feature on the list.

“I can officially say, 696 participants are registered, as the participants. There will be also coming trainers, spectators, media. We are expecting approximately 800-900 people.”

Talking the induction into the program of the Olympic Games, Simonchyk said that “the criteria of IOC is the [level of the] development of the [particular] kind of sport, and first of all how many countries participate in it”. “IFMA comprises 132 countries,” he said.

Stepanov said that the Team Belarus has undergone the training camp and is ready for the battles. “I think that the result will be good. Our plan is big as always,” he said.

“We aspire to be in Top 3. But of course we will strive to take the first place.”

Vitaly Gurkov, Dmitry Valent are among others partaking. Andrei Kubein is reportedly not competing due to an injury.

The National Teams have been arriving to Belarus as of Monday. IFMA Muaythai has reported on Facebook that Team Canada and Team USA have also touched in Minsk.

Team Australia has left to Belarus late last week. Luke Thompson, Dion Beattie and Andrew Tung are among others representing the Gold and Green.