Thailand and Cambodia spar over whether it’s ‘Muay Thai’ or ‘Kun Khmer’


WITH Cambodia having changed the name of kickboxing from Muay Thai to Kun Khmer at the 32nd SEA Games it is hosting in May this year, the Thai SEA Games committee warned that any country sending boxers to participate in Kun Khmer matches could be barred from other big competitions, TV Channel 7 said today (Jan. 24).

Mr. Chaiyaphak Siriwat, vice president of both SEA Games and Olympic committees, said after a meeting that Cambodia had set up its own federation to call the kickboxing event Kun Khmer and this is not supported by International Muay Thai Federation (IFMA) which is getting ready to punish countries that send boxers to join Kun Khmer matches,

The Amateur Muay Thai Sports Association of Thailand has also submitted a letter to the Olympic Committee of Thailand that it will definitely not send Thai boxers to participate in the SEA Games competition and they will now train for Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts Games at the end of this year.

Any SEA Games event that has less than four countries participating is cancelled and Thailand is watching to see whether four countries, including Cambodia, would possibly do so.

According to Khmer Times, using the word Kun Khmer serves as an honour for Cambodia as the host of the games.

The Cambodian SEA Games Organizing Committee has already sent formal letters to all Asean member countries on the change.

Thirty-seven sports and a demonstration sport have been officially listed for the SEA Games 2023 and another 13 for the 12th Asean Para Games.

Cambodia will host the 32nd SEA Games and the 12th Asean Para Games from May 5 to 17, 2023 and from Jun. 1 to 10, 2023 respectively, under the motto “Sport: Live in Peace”.


Muay Thai boxing matches. Photos: Thai Rath

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