Yesterday concluded Thailand’s first ever Muay Thai Expo. Held in conjunction with the MotoGP, the four day long event was hosted by the Sports Authority of Thailand at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram. The Muay Thai Expo was co-hosted by the Nai Khanomtom Association, with proceeds of t-shirt sales going towards medical expenses for retired fighters. There to initiate proceedings was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Mr. Pongpanu Sventarundra.
Fight fans from around the globe joined together to celebrate Muay Thai. Local students from around the region were invited to showcase their skills. Performances included Wai Kru, Muay Boran, and Keeta Muay Thai demonstrations. Child fighters also joined in hitting pads, and doing exhibition sparring matches for the audience. Representing the Kru Muay Association, Senior Grand Master Phosawat Saengsawang and Dr. Chow Yotawa, both from Mahasarakham University, gave out Mongkol making lessons. More than 20 people joined to make their own Mongkols that were then subsequently blessed by the Masters.
The highlight of the event was a ten fight card featuring Thailand’s top Muay Thai fighters, as well as international contenders. The fight card alone attracted over 20,000 spectators, from local fight fans to international spectators. The crowd was also treated to an exhibition match featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Somrak Kamsing and Golden Era Champion Samart Payakaroon.
With the MotoGP having signed a three year contract with the Chang International Circuit, things are looking good for the Expo. According to Nawin Chidchob, President of Buriram International Circuit, “Muay Thai Expo: The Legend of Muay Thai will continue to be part of the MotoGP for the foreseeable future.”