Muay Thai stuck in ongoing tug of war

Friction over SEA Games authority persists

Muay Thai has been hit with another controversy as the Asian Muay Federation (AMF) insisted on Friday that it is the lawful body to organise the competition at this year's SEA Games in Myanmar.

The appearance of Muay Thai at the SEA Games is under threat.

In a letter to the Bangkok Post, AMF president Saysamone Sayasone said former AMF boss Santipap Intarapat no longer has any role in the organisation.

Santipap earlier said the AMF would not organise the muay, or Muay Thai, tournament at the 27th SEA Games in December after criticism that the AMF was not recognised by any international sporting body.

Saysamone of Laos, whose organisation is recognised by the World Muaythai Federation (WMF), said Santipap was not in a position to act on behalf of the AMF.

"Mr Santipharp Intarapharth [Santipap Intarapat] is now no longer holding any executive position in the organisation," Saysamone said.

Santipap served as AMF president from 2007-2010.

In another letter to the Bangkok Post, WMF president Lt Gen Akachai Chantosa said the AMF is a full member of the WMF and its main focus is to represent its members at the SEA Games and to organise and supervise all muay events in the region.

Sakchye Tapsuwan, president of the Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand (Amat), has said that if the muay tournament at the SEA Games is organised by the AMF, his organisation would not be able to send fighters to take part in the event.

He said the tournament must be organised by the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur (Ifma), of which Amat is a member.

Akachai argued in the letter that Ifma has never been asked by the Myanmar Sports Olympic Committee (Mysoc) to organise and supervise the muay tournament at the SEA Games.

"There is a common understanding that this has always been the responsibility of the AMF," Akachai said.

Antonio Krauss, senior adviser to Akachai, said the WMF will next month make an official announcement that the AMF will organise the SEA Games tournament.

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Writer: Kittipong Thongsombat
Position: Reporter