Thailand will boycott the kickboxing event at the Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, officials confirmed Tuesday over whether to call the sport with the hosts: Muay Thai or Kon Khmer.
Thai officials are angry at plans by Cambodia to refer to the event – which they consider their national sport – as Kin Khmer rather than Muay Thai on the official programme.
Although the name Muay Thai is well known around the world, Cambodian officials insist that the sport originated in their Khmer culture.
The event is one of a series of combat sports in 11 national regional sports, including regular kickboxing, karate, taekwondo, konbokator and woinum.
The Games are due to start in May, with Cambodia hosting for the first time in 60 years.
Thailand’s National Olympic Committee vice-chairman Charon Watanasin said the International Olympic Committee has not endorsed the term Kin Khmer.
“They are violating the international rules of sports competitions,” he told AFP.
“Thai Boxing Association will not send athletes to compete.”
Cambodian sports officials are refusing to back down.
“We are the host country, so we have the right to change it to Khmer because the sport originated in Khmer and it is our culture,” Wath Chamroen, secretary-general of Cambodia’s Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, told AFP. Is.”
“We have to satisfy our people.”
He said Cambodia would retaliate and not send fighters to Thailand when it hosts the 2025 Games. In this event, the sport will be called Muay Thai.
The two states have repeatedly clashed over their cultural heritage, with 2011 seeing months of bloody military conflict over a disputed temple on the border.
Cambodia eventually won the dispute when the United Nations High Court ruled in its favor.
Muay Thai won Olympic recognition as a sport in 2021 – but its path to the Olympic Games remains uncertain due to safety concerns.
It allows some moves that are prohibited in other forms of kickboxing, such as elbow- and knee-kicks.
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