On September 4th 2009, Mr. Patrick Van Acker, President of the Belgian Kickboxing & Muaythai Organisation (BKBMO), a member of IFMA together with Mr. Karl Lauwen, President of the Thai-Belgium Association paid a visit to H.E. Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, at the Thai Embassy in Brussels.
Mr. Van Acker discussed the development of muaythai in Belgium and told the Ambassador that he aimed to popularaise the sport to the Belgium people as it is a sport which blends together the Thai culture and traditions. He also conveyed to HE the Ambassador that muaythai is yet to gain recognition from the State Government of Flander, due to their judgement that muaythai is a violent sport. It is because of this that the BKBMO are having difficulties in obtaining monetary support from the government to participate at International events such as the IFMA World Championships and the 2010 Sportaccord Combat Games.
H.E. the Ambassador agreed to help to lobby with politicians and the Minister of Sport, to ask the media for help in publishing stories to help promote muaythai as a martial art rather than a violent blood sport.
This cooperation will endorse muaythai as a beautiful art form which reflects the respect each athlete has for his or her teacher as well as for one another. The Thai embassy in Belgium also sees it as a way to develop and nurture Thai-Belgium relations.
The embassy have proposed some projects specifically geared towards these aims pending the grant for funding from Bangkok. These projects include inviting a minister or politician with decision making authority together with some Belgian muaythai athletes and Belgian media to travel to Thailand, inviting Thai muaythai trainers to train Belgian athletes for a duration of one month and focus on the traditional aspects such as Wai Khru and arranging for representatives of the BKBMO to visit the Belgian Embassy in Thailand to lobby for the Belgian Embassy to support the cause.
We wish our Belgian member federation the best of luck and continued support in the goal of gaining recognition from their highest sport authority in the near future.