Muay Thai in the Olympics? “Not in the Near Future” Says IOC

When wrestling was surprisingly put on the chopping block for the next Olympics games, combat sports enthusiasts began to wonder if another martial art could potentially take it’s place. For a few months there have been rumors that Muay Thai was a likely candidate.

Matches would function very similar to the padded amateur Muay Thai championships, in which fighters like Kem Sitsongpeenong, Yodsanklai Fairtex, and Artem Levin have participated.

However, According to the Bangkok Post and IOC member Dr. Nat Indarapana, we probably won’t be seeing Muay Thai in the Olympics for a very long while.

“The sport has become more popular worldwide but it still lacks proper systems in judging, safety and doping control. Also, women should be given more chances to fight. It must also free of conflict of interests,” said Indarapana.

The IOC member has some valid points. As it stands now, Muay Thai is one of the most unregulated popular combat sports on the planet, far behind MMA, which is itself struggling to contain the use of PED’s and other artificial stimulants. Muay Thai also has a nearly non-existent governing body, judging criteria is different from country to country, and women are still only recently finding themselves accepted by particular gyms in Thailand and elsewhere.

Despite the International Federation of Muaythai Amateurs (IFMA) pushing hard for the inclusion of Muay Thai in upcoming Olympic games, the IOC committee is holding fast.

“We will not see Muay Thai at the Olympics in the near future. It is a long process and the IFMA must worker harder,” said Indarpana.

Taking the steps to regulate amateur Muay Thai is easier said than done, especially in Thailand, where fighting professionally is a matter of “when you want to” rather than “how skilled you are.” In Thailand, Muay Thai is a way of life. Competing in pads or head-gear is uncommon even in practice. Unlike other combat sports that have been added to the games like Taekwondo and Boxing, training in full protective equipment is not only commonplace but required for beginners and amateurs.

The IFMA, in their attempts to push Muay Thai through the IOC is engaging in an effort to alter the fabric of Muay Thai itself. Whether that is good or bad is up the opinion of the reader, but it would certainly change how the sport is perceived. On one hand, putting Muay Thai on the Olympic stage would undoubtedly do wonders for it’s international popularity. Since Taekwondo was introduced to the Olympics in 1992 it has experienced a boom in participants that has carried it to be the most widely practiced combat sport in the world, bar none.

But would forcing an emphasis on protective gear and modified rules take away from the nak muay culture that has been built up over centuries? Again, these are questions I can’t answer with certainty. They are conclusions we all must examine in order to determine whether or not to join the cause for Muay Thai in the Olympics. For now though, witnessing the sport on the biggest sports platform in history is nothing but a cloudy dream.

Stick with FSA for updates on Muay Thai’s status in the Olympic Games, and be sure to follow us on twitter and facebook for even more information, contests, and breaking news.

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One Comment on “Muay Thai in the Olympics? “Not in the Near Future” Says IOC”

  1. June 5, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    that’s a sad news.. to think Muay Thai has been gaining a lot of popularity this past years, and is still continuously getting popular not only on Asian countries but even western countries are getting hooked on the said sport.

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