Prayut makes a pitch for Muay Thai

PM tells IOC chief to include it in Olympics

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, right, shakes hands with IOC president Thomas Bach at Government House on Tuesday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach to help push for the inclusion of Muay Thai at the 2024 Games.

Gen Prayut discussed the matter with Bach during their meeting at Government House on Tuesday.

Bach is in town to attend the SportAccord 2018 which is being held at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre and ends on Friday.

"The prime minister asked the IOC president to consider pushing Muay Thai to be included in the 33rd Olympic Games in 2024 in Paris,'' government spokesman Weerachon Sukhontapatipak told reporters after the meeting.

Prayut also told Bach that Thailand would bid to host the 2026 Youth Olympics.

Thailand is confident that it would be able to organise the multi-sport event as it has hosted several international sporting extravaganzas, Weerachon quoted Prayut as telling Bach.

Bach told the premier that Thailand had the potential to host the Youth Olympics after he visited the Sports Authority of Thailand on Monday.

Prayut said Thailand has been trying to develop its potential in several aspects of sports, including facilities, in an attempt to become a sports hub in the region, according to Weerachon.

Thailand is also promoting sports tourism as an option for tourists, the spokesman quoted Prayut as telling the IOC chief.

Meanwhile, SAT governor Sakol Wannapong, who was also present at the meeting, said Bach told Prayut that there are several aspects which would be considered before a sport is approved as a competing event at the Olympics.

Among the criteria are the sport's worldwide popularity, history and development at the youth level, Sakol said.

He said Bach told the prime minister that Thailand had a high chance of winning the right to host the Youth Olympics.

During the meeting, Bach also expressed confidence that Thailand could win Olympic medals in sports other than weightlifting, boxing and taekwondo, according to Sakol. "Prime Minister Prayut said he also wants to see Thailand win Olympic medals in other sports apart from the three disciplines,'' Sakol said.

Thailand first participated in the Olympics in 1952 and has won a total of 33 medals in boxing, weightlifting and taekwondo.

Meanwhile, the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) have signed an agreement to share the organisation of the World Beach Games after the 2019 edition.

The World Beach Games is a global gathering that will comprise 15 sports at the inaugural ANOC-organised competition taking place in San Diego next year.

"We are delighted to have reached this agreement to work in partnership with ANOC to ensure a bright future for the World Beach Games," GAISF president Patrick Baumann said.

Baumann is also chief of SportAccord.

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