Muaythai Roadshow in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and South Africa
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, in collaboration with the Royal Thai Embassies in Nairobi, Maputo and Pretoria, organised a Muaythai Roadshow in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and South Africa during 4 – 22 February 2019 with Muaythai athletes coached by Mr. Wittawat Ka-som (Master Din) from Lanna Fighting Muaythai Training Camp and Chiangmai Thepbodint School. The Muaythai Roadshow in South Africa was led by H.E. Mr. Chaisiri Anamarn, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affaris of Thailand, together with Mrs. Ruyaporn Sukontasap, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information whilst Roadshow in Kenya, Ethiopia and Mozambique was led by Mr. Sorut Sukthaworn, Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, Department of Information. The Roadshow aimed at using Muaythai as a tool for cultural diplomacy and development diplomacy to promote peace culture among youths, as well as fostering people-to-people contact between Thailand and African countries.
The Roadshow started in Kenya on 4 February 2019, and in Ethiopia on 8 February 2019. Led by H.E. Mr. Cherdkiat Atthakor, Ambassador of Thailand to Kenya and Ethiopia, together with the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, the Muaythai team conducted Muay Boran performances, Wai-Kru demonstrations, Muaythai cardio-training demonstrations, Muaythai competition performances and workshops for underprivileged youths, Muaythai and martial arts enthusiasts and trainers at various venues, namely (1) Silanga Village, Kibera, Nairobi, in collaboration with the Trinity Boxing Club, Fight for Peace and Kilimanjaro Initiative; (2) the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Academy, Nairobi; (3) Alpha Fit Gym, Nairobi; (4) YMCA’s Sports & Training Centre, Addis Ababa. The aforementioned activities were warmly received by Kenyans and Ethiopians, and also attended by the local and national media in both countries.
The Ambassador, together with the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, also met with Mr. Kirimi P. Kaberia, Permanent Secretary for Sports Development, Ministry of Sports and Heritage of Kenya and Mr. Erstu Yireda, Commissioner, Federal Democratic of Ethiopia Sport Commission, to discuss the promotion of Muaythai in both countries and to inform of Thailand’s endeavour in including Muaythai in the Olympic Games. The meeting in Kenya was also attended by Mr. Maurice Odera, Muaythai promoter, and Mr. James Kamau Mwangi, one of the pioneers of Muaythai in Kenya. The meeting in Ethiopia was also attended by Mr. Tsegaye Abebe, the Royal Thai Honorary Consul in Addis Ababa. On this occasion, Master Din or Mr. Wittawat Ka-Som, the Muaythai Master of Lanna Fighting Muaythai training camp and Chiangmai Thepbodint School, with his team, demonstrated the arts and training of Muaythai to all participants.
During 11 – 15 February 2019, the Roadshow was successfully held in Bilene District and Maputo, led by H.E. Mr. Thosaporn Moonlasartsathorn, Ambassador of Thailand to Mozambique, together with the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division. The activities included: (1) Muay Boran, Wai Kru and Muaythai competition demonstrations and workshops for youths and students in Tuane Village, Bilene District, Gaza Province. These activities were intended to complement efforts of Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) and the Royal Thai Embassy in Maputo, which have conducted development cooperation projects to create a more sustainable agricultural development path in Mozambique; (2) Muay Boran, Wai Kru and Muaythai competition demonstrations for students at Escola Secundaria John Issa in Macia, Bilene District, Gaza Province, with over 900 students attending the event; and (3) Muaythai workshops for enthusiasts and trainers at MASSADURA Gym and Crossfit Box Gym in Maputo.
The Ambassador and the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, also met with H.E. Ms. Ana Flávia J. Azinheira, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Mozambique and Mr. Penalva Cézar, Executive Director and Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Mozambique, to discuss possible cooperation on Muaythai and to seek support on bringing Muaythai towards the Olympic Games.
During 17 – 22 February 2019, the Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, together with Mr. Paisit Boonparlit, Chargé d’Affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy in Pretoria, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information, and the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, led the Muaythai team to conduct Muay Boran and Muaythai competition demonstrations and workshops for underprivileged youths at (1) Zakheni Training & Development Centre in Soshanguve Township, Pretoria; (2) Bram Fischer Multi-Purpose Centre, in Soweto Township, Johannesburg, where people with physical disabilities also attended; and (3) Orlando Children’s Home in Johannesburg. The Team also conducted a workshop for Muaythai enthusiasts and trainers at the Tiger-Dragon Muaythai Boxing Gym in Pretoria.
The Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, together with Chargé d’Affaires of the Royal Thai Embassy, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information, and the Director of Cultural Diplomacy Division, also met with Mr. Barry Hendricks, Vice President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Mr. Gregory Heart, President of Martial Arts South Africa (MASA), and Mr. Mario Da Silva, President of Muay Boran Association, to discuss cooperation on Muaythai in South Africa. The President of SASCOC recognised the popularity of Muaythai in South Africa and voiced his readiness to support Thailand’s endeavour in bringing Muaythai to the Olympic Games.