By Ryan McKinnon

This years Muaythai Canada National Championship inside the Markham Pan Am Centre gave athletes and fans throughout the country a great opportunity to congregate, compete, and continue to demonstrate that amateur Muaythai is more than just a sport. For many of us, it is part of our identity.

Photo: Michelle Rowe-Jardine

The event moved to a much larger and accommodating venue this year to support spectators and the 213 athletes that competed throughout the weekend. A passionate group of volunteers gave their time graciously, ensuring every detail was not overlooked so that the event could run smoothly. The Muaythai Canada officials added a level of professionalism to the event, working well with competitors and coaches, as well as scoring a large number of bouts that were decided by the narrowest of margins with accuracy. Muaythai Canada introduced new uniforms for athletes, in keeping with the IFMA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) standards, as well as new uniforms for officials.

88 bouts were held amongst 525 divisions, inside 2 rings, with athlete representation from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland, and of course, Ontario. The amount of registrants outside Ontario demonstrated that coaches and athletes are committed to the growth of the sport, making the trek from their home provinces to represent themselves on the highest platform for amateur Muaythai this country has to offer.

Brandon Petahtegoose of the Ojibwe Nation. Photo: Michelle Rowe-Jardine

The opening ceremonies on Saturday afternoon kicked off the first day of competition. Brandon Petahtegoose of the Ojibwe Nation and Isaac Weber of the Henvey Inlet Nation addressed everyone in attendance with a land acknowledgement, followed by the Anishaabe Flag Song and a traditional smudge ceremony. Their presentation was capped off by a powerful ceremonial dance. It evoked a sublime sense of raw power and energy; just the kind of energy an athlete would need before competition.

Following the First Nations presentation was a well-choreographed, high energy dance routine by the Vybe Dance Group, a Makrham-based performance group specializing in urban dance, who have worked with Lady Gaga and performed with The Raptors Dance Pak. The Vybe Groups routine engaged the local community and offered a nice counterpoint to the previous presentation.

Speeches were delivered by the President of Muaythai Canada Robin Finley, and the Mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti. Finley reflected and recounted the previous two Muaythai Canada National Tournaments, and spoke about the positive direction in which the sport is heading. Mayor Scarpitti graciously welcomed our Muaythai family to the event space within the thriving city of Markham and spoke about the importance of amateur sport to Canada and young athletes.

There were two final presentations to complete the opening ceremonies. Owner of Milton Muaythai, Rommel Oliveros presented his youth competition team, ‘The Termites’ to fans. They performed a wai khru and demonstrated various Muaythai techniques, to the delight of onlookers.

Osvaldo Rafael of York Muaythai ended the ceremonies with a very beautiful wai khru ram muay that he learned while attending the Sport Authority of Thailand’s North American Seminar in September.

Photo: Michelle Rowe-Jardine

The competitive spirit was high during both days. Both rings had their fair share of close calls, referee stoppages, and intense action from bell to bell. The quarter final bouts on Saturday featured a new crop of Canadian athletes that are looking to make a name for themselves in the Canadian Muaythai scene.Our young athletes are our future Olympic hopefuls, and events like the Canadian National Championships are where they can literally sharpen their weapons in a competitive setting.

Perhaps one of the best storylines from the weekend was the level of sportsmanship that was shared between competitors. While Muaythai is a combat sport, when an uninitiated spectator comes to an event like the ‘nationals’ they can’t help but notice how respectful athletes are towards one another and the level of fair play that is demonstrated between gyms. It warms the heart to see that this sport makes better human beings and brings out their selves through competition.

The qualifier bouts scheduled for the second day of competition determined which athletes would represent Canada on the international stage in the upcoming year. Some familiar names continued to prove that they deserve to represent the highest echelon of Canadian talent, and pursue their goal of capturing gold internationally. Meet your qualified 2019 Canadian Muaythai National Team athletes.

Name Gender Division Weight (kg) Province
Yumiko Kawano Female Elite 51 ON
Taylor McClatchie Female Elite 57 ON
Sara Buczek Female Elite 63.5 ON
Sarah Carter Female Elite 75 MB
Josimar Tulloch Male Elite 54 ON
Daniel Sopa Male Elite 60 ON
Nathan Boulet Male Elite 63.5 ON
Warwick Fulke Male Elite 67 ON
Scott Mackenzie Male Elite 75 AB
Zubair Khan Male Elite 81 ON
Riley Foden Male J 16-17 51 ON
Peyton Corrigan Male J 16-17 71 ON
Olivia Moore Female J 14-15 54 ON
Evan Gonsalves Male J 14-15 51 ON
Dimitra Kasseris Female J 12-13 40 ON
Athanasia Vrazalis Female J 12-13 50 ON
Justin Ong-Nguyen Male J 12-13 32 ON
Logan Gamsby Male J 12-13 52 ON
Jordan Ong-Nguyen Male J 10-11 30 ON
Vincent Ko Male J 10-11 34 ON
Noah Brosens Male J 10-11 36 ON
Kobe Carr Male J 10-11 40 AB

Once competition ended Sunday evening the Awards of Excellence were given to those who demonstrated something exceptional throughout the Championship.

Junior Female Male
Best Wai Kru Performance Kobe Carr
Arashido Sherwood Park
Alberta
Jeniya Vijithan
Southside Muaythai
Ontario
Jernie Keith Manalong
Southside Muaythai
Ontario
Best Athletic Performance Abigail Alerta
Nak Muay Gym
Manitoba
Taylor McClatchie
New Era Combat Sports
Ontario
William Villar
Kombat Arts
Ontario

 

Best Team Performance 8 Limbs Muaythai
Newfoundland
4 Gold, 9 Silver, 1 Bronze
Sportsmanship Excellence Nathan Power
Milton Muaythai
Technical Official Excellence Raj Dhanjal
Farang Martial Arts
Volunteer Excellence James Nothof
Fifth Round Muaythai

Ryan McKinnon is the host of The Bloody Ballet Podcast and website, found at www.thebloodyballet.com. He is a coach and regular blog contributor to www.lannamma.com.

© 2018 Muaythai Canada
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