IFMA Muay Thai Youth World Championships now open
IFMA Muay Thai Youth Worlds 2018 opening ceremony / Team Australia / Pic: IFMA

The IFMA Muay Thai Youth World Championships opens today in Bangkok with the first bouts starting at 4 PM AWST. Young athletes aged from 10 to 17 compete ranged according to age and within that to weight categories.

This year’s tournament has set a new attendance record with over 1,200 delegates comprising athletes and officials travelling from 82 countries for the championships.

This large number is the fruits of years of grassroots development work by IFMA federations and head office working together to promote Muay Thai among the youth.

Muay Thai and IFMA were given provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee in 2016. One of the key reasons behind this was the continued focus on youth development – the IFMA programme combines sports and cultural exchange with education and fun.

“Among the three largest delegations are Russia with over 90 delegates, Australia with 82 and Turkey with 78, said IFMA Sport Director Charissa Tynan. “We are very happy to see this; it shows IFMA’s policy of building on the youth towards the future is proving to be a success. Muay Thai may be 1000 years old – but the future looks bright.”

IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan stated IFMA is proud so many teams are here from countries which have suffered or are still suffering from the effects of war – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Palestine all are here with large numbers. They received a standing ovation during the Athletes’ parade especially from the contingent of dignitaries representing the embassies and consulates.

The Event: IFMA Muay Thai Youth Worlds 2018

The event takes place over six days with competition in four separate rings, with an average of 150 contests per day. A special arena has been built in the centre of Bangkok, free admission and a full house is expected – all four rings to be televised on different channels including the IFMA Youtube channel. The fight results can be found on

The activities programme includes a Wai Kru Contest (the ritual dance done by athletes at the start of each bout), Muay Boran (old-style traditional hand to hand combat demonstrations) and Muay Talay or Sea Boxing which takes place in the Event Hotel swimming pool.

The annual IFMA Youth Gala Award Night takes place in the Siam Niramit Convention Hall – the –three-hour gala combined with Thai Cultural Show will be unforgettable.

The athletes will also attend a United Through Sports Conference at the United Nations Conference Centre at ESCAP Hall. The conference next week includes youth from up to 50 other sports, travelling from all over Thailand to join with the international muaythai family for the day.