Muay Thai gains important foothold

11 Oct

by Edward Thangarajah, Bangkok Post, Thailand (2005-10-11)

Thanks to the untiring efforts of Thailands Pol Gen Kovid Bhakdibhumi, Muay Thai has received outstanding recognition of the world, especially by the over 150 nations which are members of the World Boxing Council.

The WBC appointed Gen Kovid as head of its newly-formed Muay Thai Committee last year in Phuket and from that stage onwards Muay Thai has boomed into the world stage.

Here in Cadiz, Spain where the WBC held its 43rd annual convention, the sport has been introduced to everyone through a number of experts and it has gone down well.

There is every likelihood Muay Thai will receive tremendous exposure in the future.

In fact, it was the late Sahasombhop Sirisomvongse, the former president of the Asian Boxing Council, who tried hard to gain WBC backing for Muay Thai in the late 1980s, but some officials in the WBC were opposed to it.

But today, thanks to the hard work done by an able Muay Thai committee the sport has received a big break and from the looks of it, there is every likelihood of it breaking into major events, including the Olympic Games.

One of the issues which obstructed Muay Thais expansion internationally was about its safety. But with the WBC having launched its own medical safety programmes, many believe that the safety aspect should not pose any issues.

Talking of the WBC and its convention in Cadiz it is worthy to note that many are closing ranks in an effort to save the sport from collapse.

There are signs that the British Boxing Board of Control is on its way back after leaving in disagreement over some sensitive issues.

BBB of C chairman Charles Giles met with WBC President Dr Jose Sulaiman and, according to insiders, they have struck an agreement to settle all differences and to bring the BBB of C back into the WBC.

The WBC had kept its doors open for years, ever since the British Boxing Board left the WBC, hoping it would return. In fact the WBC vice-presidency, held by the British Boxing Board was never filled. It is very likely that Mr Giles will be invited to fill the vacancy.

The WBC’s plan to create a new image for amateur boxing is an excellent idea because the sport has been tarnished so much that even gold medal winners don’t enjoy prominence any more.

There are many stories about bribes making the rounds and after every Olympic Games new, unsubstantiated, stories emerge.

There have been many other scandalous stories making the rounds.

Take the case of Roy Jones and the robbery he suffered at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Also, the 12 gold medals which were awarded to one country at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.

Therefore the WBC plans to clean up amateur boxing is an excellent idea, but it should be done step-by-step.

It should try to convince AIBA first and try to make them change their ways.

As someone pointed out, efforts must be made to pay officials who serve as referees and judges.

Unpaid officials should never be appointed.

That’s why they are tempted to make money. In professional boxing officials are paid.

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