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Muay Thai World Championships in Minsk to raise chances of Thai boxing becoming Olympic sport

The hosting of the IFMA Muay Thai World Championships by Minsk will considerably increase the chances for this sport to be included into the program of the Summer Olympic Games, IFMA President Sakchye Tapsuwan said during the opening ceremony of the tournament at the Palace of Sports in Minsk on 4 May, BelTA has learned. 

“I am happy to be here, in Belarus. The Belarusian national team is among the world's best. It is a historic day for the IFMA. This is the first time Muaythai World Championships are held as an Olympic recognized sport. I am confident that the world's sports forum in the Belarusian capital will greatly increase the chances of this sport to be included into the Summer Olympics program,” Sakchye Tapsuwan said. 

Chairman of the Belarusian Kickboxing Federation and Muay Thai Federation Yuri Karayev emphasized the increasing popularity of this sport worldwide and added that the championships in Minsk will be held on Victory Day. 

“The Belarusian team will do their best to create a great atmosphere for their fans on this day and throughout the sports forum,” he said. 

Attending the opening ceremony was Belarusian Sports and Tourism Minister Alexander Shamko and Minsk Mayor Andrei Shorets. 

The first match-ups are scheduled for 5 May. 

The competitions will last for seven days. 

The Belarusian team will feature Andrei Gerasimchuk, Dmitry Valent and Vitaly Gurkov. One of the leaders of the Belarusian national team Andrei Kulebin will have to miss out due to an injury. 

As was earlier reported, in December 2016 muay thai was granted provisional recognition as an Olympic sport from the International Olympic Committee, which means this sport will be able to apply to become part of the Olympic Games sports program. 

The IFMA Muay Thai World Championships are organized by the Belarusian Sports and tourism Ministry, Minsk City Hall, the National Olympic Committee, and the Belarus Kickboxing Federation and Muay Thai Federation.