Sport in Thailand
Due to Thailand’s location in Southeast Asia it is heavily influenced by its neighbours but when it comes to sport Thailand has some of its own unique sports. Martial arts as well as football and golf are all very popular in the country but we take a closer look at the more unique events practised and played in Thailand.
By far the most famous sport in Thailand is Muay Thai or Thai kickboxing as it’s alternatively known. This sport is a unique version of boxing that unlike the Western version of boxing allows the use of the hands, elbows, shins, elbows and knees, which are used extensively. The sport is thought to originate from the unarmed combat used by ancient Siamese soldiers. Muay Thai has been practised as a sport in the region for centuries with the first written account of a match coming from the 15th century.
There are many strict rules governing public Muay Thai matches. For example, only boxing shorts are permitted to be worn, and the colour depends on which corner the fighter is in; red, pink, or maroon or with a red stripe for the red corner; blue, bright blue, black for the blue corner. A Muay Thai matches last for five rounds; 3 minutes per round with a 2 minute break between each round.
Muay Thai matches can be seen all over Thailand, especially in the countries popular tourist areas, where small rings are often set up in go-go bars.
This game requires skill a lot of skill. The name roughly translates as kick volleyball and is a sport native to Malaysia and Thailand but it has seen its popularity grow in the USA and Canada. Takraw differs from volleyball in that players are only allowed to use their feet, knees and chest to touch the ball.
A match is played by two teams comprised of three players and is won by winning the best of five sets. The game requires incredible skill and dexterity and is amazing to watch. Groups of people (usually boys and young men) can be seen in the streets all over Thailand playing this highly addictive and entertaining sport.
There are even murals at Wat Phra Kaew that show the Hindu god Hanuman playing Takraw in a ring with a troop of monkeys.