The 6th March 2020 marked not only the annual celebration of Muaythai Day, but also the signing of a memorandum of understanding between UTS and the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) the IOC recognized umbrella body of Muaythai. The two organisations have been in joint cooperation over the past 2 years and have collaborated on a number of social and educational projects.
In the heart of Bangkok, UTS and IFMA hosted the United Through Muaythai event and conference where the signing took place between IFMA President Dr Sakchye Tapsuan and UTS CEO Julia Govinden.
Set in the Grand Ballroom of the Ambassador the room was packed to the bursting point and joined by the Chair from the Parliament Sport Commission who opened the event. Special guests included: Former Sports and Tourism Minister of Thailand Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, representatives of the Embassies, UNESCO, Right to Play, IFMA Executives and AMTAT for this important conference to unite Muaythai and UTS in collaborating towards social betterment and the growing future of the sport.
The event opened with a Thai traditional show going back in time with over 100 performers of all ages coming together to take the audience back in time to the legendary story of the Tiger King.
The former Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, spoke about the power of Muaythai through its cultural values to contribute to society and a better tomorrow. Julia Govinden, the CEO of United Through Sports, highlighted the close cooperation between UTS and IFMA, giving examples on how IFMA uses Muaythai as a cultural art form and sport towards positive youth development which is acknowledged and respected beyond the world of sports. Dr. Sue Vize, UNESCO Regional Advisor for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific, highlighted UNESCO Youth Development Through the Martial Art evaluation framework and what can be done towards positive development. Ms. Janice Lyn, Chair of IFMA Athletes Commission, made an emotional report on IFMA’s principles and policy for the well-being and protection of the athletes. She discussed the united vision of IFMA and UTS towards non-discrimination, unity in diversity and gender equality. Azadeh Kamyabi, IFMA’s Anti-doping Administrator, presented a statistical report analysis and focused on IFMA’s continued efforts to protect athletes and put fair play at the centre of sport.
Acting Country Director, Julia Schipper of another IOC recognized organization, Right to Play emphasized the Right to Play ethos and outlined the strong cooperation it holds with UTS and IFMA in their work with displaced youth giving them opportunity and access to play, sport, fun and friendship. Finally, IFMA General Secretary Stephan Fox, presented IFMA’s historical timeline and commended the strong alliance UTS and IFMA hold. IFMA President, Dr. Tapsuwan, closed the event thanking everyone including the Royal Thai Government and other agencies for their support.
The event ended with the official signing between the two parties and a celebration of unity. UTS will continue to work with IFMA towards not only youth development through sports, but also towards giving education and opportunities to those who face challenges with limited access to sports. The future is bright, the future is ours to build.