IFMA Muay Thai Medalists
IFMA Gold again for TWG Athlete of the Year Sofia Olofsson, awarded by IFMA’s Stephan Fox / Pic: IFMA

IFMA Muay Thai World Championships 2018 was held from May 10 to May 19 in Cancun, Mexico. The event was the first competition of such caliber ever held on Pan-American continent. It was also a qualifying tournament for The World Games 2021 scheduled from July 15 to July 25 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Following the day of final bouts, which has crowned the new IFMA champions of the world, the organization outlined several common competitors, who had also appeared at the last year’s TWG in Wroclaw, Poland. The event was a debut of Muay Thai after it was added to the official programme of the most important sporting event immediately after the Olympic Games.

The World Games 2017 athletes shine at 2018 IFMA world muaythai championships

Among those showing their experience at the Cancun World Championships were Vasyl Sorokin from Ukraine. He fought his way to silver at TWG2017, but claimed gold in Cancun. Lukasz Radosz (Poland) took silver in Wroclaw last year, and moved up to gold in Cancun also at 86kg.

Turkey’s Ali Dogan retained his gold medal at 86kg, facing the same opponent in Constantine Nanga from Sweden. At 57kg Wiwat Khamtha (Thailand) also retained his gold medal status. For Mexican athlete Ivan Molina – Valenzuela the home support boosted him onto the medal table in Cancun, taking bronze this year.

And at 54kg TWG champion Yelaman Sayassatov (Kazakhstan) climbed the podium again, taking silver this time.

In the women’s divisions Sofia Olofsson (Sweden) and Svetlana Vinnikova (Russia) continued to dominate their weight divisions, both taking gold again. Nili Block (Israel) who won bronze in Wroclaw took gold in Cancun, a successful defence of her IFMA title. Vietnam’s Bui Yen Ly took silver again in Cancun, a repeat of her TWG result to her disappointment.

Unfortunately not all of TWG medal-winners had a successful outing in Cancun, showing the unpredictability of sport. No doubt we will see these young athletes again later in the year at the European Championships in Prague and the Asian Championships in Macau.