MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Ukraine’s decision to boycott the 2022 IFMA (the International Federation of Muaythai Associations) Youth World Championship this month is very regrettable because children must not be a subject to political disagreements, Tatyana Yefimova, the sports director of the Russian Muaythai Federation (RMF), told TASS on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian side decided to pull out from the 2022 IFMA Youth World Championship after it learnt that the Russian national team was allowed to participate in the international youth tournament.
"How can I comment on this? It is their choice and we can only regret that in their opinion this decision should go to children as well," Yefimova said. "The international federation [IFMA] made it clear earlier that politics should be the politics, but children should not suffer from it and this is why they cleared Russia and Belarus to participate in the international tournament."
"Belarus, however, decided against taking part in the tournament because travel logistics were too expensive for them," she noted.
Yefimova also said that "our athletes will be competing at the tournament under the flag of the [Russian Muaythai] Federation, because until the end of the year we have to compete under a neutral flag one way or the other due to a decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency."
"Our adult team was barred from the World Championship in May, but we were granted permission to enter our children’s team [for the 2022 IFMA Youth World Championship]," Yefimova stated.
She also said that the Russian Muaythai Federation received an official letter from the International Federation of Muaythai Associations, which confirmed the participation of young Russian fighters in the upcoming international youth championship this month and provided security guarantees for them.
The 2022 IFMA Youth World Championship is scheduled to be held between August 9 and 21 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. According to the IFMA’s official website "This year’s Youth World Championships will include all weight categories of the Youth Divisions in the combat discipline, as well as both individual and mixed team events for the Wai Kru and Mai Muay Disciplines."
On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments referring to Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.