Paetongtarn wants Olympic sport status for Muay Thai

Paetongtarn wants Olympic sport status for Muay Thai

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the deputy chairperson of the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, is pushing to have Muay Thai become an Olympic sport.

Ms Paetongtarn outlined her goals in strengthening Muay Thai's position as one of Thailand's soft power tools through several strategies, including being included in the Olympics.

"We will get the opportunity to cheer on Muay Thai boxers representing Thailand in the Olympics one day," she said via Facebook.

Ms Paetongtarn said she and her team would seek to make Muay Thai more popular among foreigners through other initiatives, such as incorporating a ranking system similar to Taekwondo's belt ranking system.

She also talked about ways to aid Muay Thai teachers in becoming more professional and how to foster more Muay Thai competitions at all levels.

She also spoke of ways to boost the number of overseas Muay Thai camps and further promote the Muay Thai equipment industry, which would all add to the mix of maximising the national sport's potential.

Meanwhile, the advisor to the prime minister and chairperson of the Sports Sub-Committee in the National Soft Power Strategy Committee, Pimol Srivikorn, said the government had made significant progress in promoting Muay Thai as a soft power.

As part of that, Mr Pimol met with Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt last week to discuss a plan to send Muay Thai teachers to a number of schools in Bangkok.

He said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) made with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be signed on Jan 29.

The MoU will allow the soft power committee to send Muay Thai teachers and equipment to up to 20 schools under the BMA participating in a pilot programme starting next semester.

Mr Pimol said the committee was also looking to organise a Muay Thai masterclass in England, which would allow foreigners to learn the martial art from internationally recognised Muay Thai masters, such as Rodtang Jitmuangnon, Buakaw Banchamek and Superbon Singha Mawynn for one full day in April.

He said the masterclass would inspire these foreigners, prompting them to invite their friends to visit Thailand, which would, in turn, boost Thai tourism.

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