“Thai boxing is well known around the world. We would like Thai boxing to be a part of the Asian Games and the Olympics,” said Dr Sakchye Tapsuwan, President of International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IFMA) and Secretary General of the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) on Wednesday (November 18).
Dr Sakchuye spoke to The Phuket News following the organisations' annual general meeting at Patong Beach Hotel, which also served as the rules meeting for Muay Thai officials and national representatives of the 4th Asian Beach Games.
“We delivered an application today to Haider Farman, the Director of the Asian Games Department of the Olympic Council of Asia.
“It should not take too long to consider,” he said, explaining that Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism & Sports had thrown her weight behind the application by writing personally to the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“I am confident that Muay Thai will be approved. We should be proud because Thai boxing is part of Thai heritage.”
Stephan Fox, Vice President of the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) and the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IFMA) said, “Muay Thai should be in the Asian Games. It is a very strong sport. It started from Thailand and has spread around Malaysia, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, China and Korea.
“But in the past, Thailand did not unite to push for its inclusion in international games because of political reasons. However, now that Ms Kobkarn is behind us I think we will see Muay Thai included in the [next] Asian Games [in Jakarta, Indonesia] in 2018.
“Muay Thai should be an Asian sport because it expresses an Asian tradition. It is also exciting to watch and has strong commercial backing.”
Mr Fox explained the process for the sport’s inclusion in the international arena.
“First, Muay Thai had to be recognised by SportAccord (an international union of sports federations). SportAccord must recognize a sport for five years. We applied in 2006 [so that stage is completed].”
But the next step – application to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – was delayed because of “politics”, Mr Fox said. With the new regime in place that application has gone forward.
“We are now in the process of being recognised by the IOC. That should take six months from now. After that the final step we have to work on is to get into the actual sports programme of the Olympics.
“We are already in the approval process for two international events governed by the IOC – the World Games [in 2017 in Poland] and the Asian Games [in 2018]. All sports that want to be in the Olympics must first be featured in the World Games.”
He added a final cautionary note: “Please, do expect this to happen immediately.”