By Michelle Rowe-Jardine
The fourth annual Muaythai Canada National Championship returned on Nov. 9-10 in its largest tournament to date.
The tournament, held at the Markham Panham Centre again this year, drew more than 1,088 spectators over the two-day competition as 234 athletes fought for their spots on the podium, and an opportunity to be selected for the national team. Kicking off with stellar opening ceremonies that included a Wai Kru from Rafael Arteaga of York Muay Thai, a Muay Boran demonstration from siblings Savannah & Riley Foden and a gorgeous performance from Toronto-based Thai dramatic arts troupe Tdot Tdat, the first day was jam-packed with nonstop action as 94 bouts thundered across two rings.
With another 70 bouts on Sunday, the number of registered athletes has nearly doubled since Nationals began in 2016, as gyms from as far east as St. John’s, N.L., all the way to Cranbrook, B.C., brought their finest nak muay to Markham, Ont. for a shot at the gold.
Nationals saw some familiar faces as returning champs came to clinch yet another medal, such as New Era Combat Sports’ Taylor McClatchie in the 57 kg division.
And youth involvement was strong again this year, with youth divisional bouts representing roughly 38 per cent of all registered athletes in the tournament.
At the end of Sunday, 70 nak muay ascended the podium to receive their gold medals, and special awards were presented to notable athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.
Full list of award recipients:
Wai Kru Excellence – (Male) Gregory Gauvin, Siam No. 1, Quebec
(Female) Laura Barager, Loyalist Martial Arts, Ontario
(Youth) Tiago Scarfone, MAS Thai Boxing, Ontario
Athlete Excellence: (Male) Daniel Sopa, TKO Fighting Arts, Ontario
(Female) Martha Lopez, Apex Muay Thai, Quebec
(Youth) Emily Vigneault, Mike Miles Muay Thai, Alberta
Technical Official Excellence: Kru Laura Vuculescu, Black Tigers Gym, Ontario
Sportsmanship Excellence: Kru James Richard, 8 Limbs Muay Thai, Newfoundland & Labrador
Volunteer Excellence: Maryam Girgis, Krudar, Ontario