Olympic Muay Thai: A dream or a nightmare?
Celebrations on social media about Muay Thai being recognized by the International Olympic Committee are going on in the last couple of days. After the first few minutes of euphoria, it is probably better to come back to reality and evaluate this scenario properly.
ICO has granted Muay Thai a provisional recognition (as well as cheer-leading, it’s not a joke) which last a period of 3 years, during which the committee executives will be voting for the ‘full’ recognition of these two sports. The representatives of the sports will also have to present a request an official request to be included in the Olympic Games.
ICO‘s goal of introducing these ‘new sports’ is to attract more young people towards watching the Olympics. Of course, from the choreographic point of view, Muay Thai is very fascinating also for kids and their parents, if they watch the Muay Thai where people put on ‘red uniforms’ and perform cerimonies with their Monkon and Pra Jiat on, than move around with ropes around their fists and simulate combat. But, what will happen when they find out what ‘real’ Muay Thai’ is? For example stitches, broken noses like in the “Sangmanee vs Thanonchai” saga (video). What will the parents think of those kids that are fascinated by Muay Thai when they find out that kicks to the legs, kidneys and liver, elbows to the face and knees to the stomach or to the head are normality? Let’s seriously try to think about it.
I personally think ‘real’ Muay Thai, as it is in Thailand, will never reach the Games. If a sport that will be called Muay Thai will, it is going be a very different one than the one we know today. It is hard to think if it will be good for the sport and who will compete in ‘Olympic Muay Thai’ will be able to compete in ‘real’ Muay Thai.
Without a doubt, the recognition will take Muay Thai out of the shadow and will give a positive impulse to this amazing sport.
Josh Rosenblatt wrote a very clear article on this matter: