7 countries to fight in SEA Games kickboxing despite Muay Thai boycott
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2023
Six Asean countries have confirmed their participation in the controversy-hit kickboxing tournament at the 2023 SEA Games in May, according to host Cambodia’s Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF).
In a Facebook post on Sunday, the KKIF said Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam will compete in SEA Games Kun Khmer, which is being boycotted by other Asean countries including Thailand.
“Malaysia will send a list of athletes [for the Kun Khmer competition] later,” it added.
KKIF said all seven countries are members of its federation and are not afraid of threats from anyone over their participation.
The International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) has warned that any IFMA member countries who send kickboxing athletes to the games will be banned from IFMA competitions and activities for two years.
The controversy ignited when Cambodia replaced Muay Thai with Kun Khmer at this year’s SEA Games.
The IFMA said six of its members – Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore – will not join the SEA Games Kun Khmer.
It added that non-member countries are free to send their kickboxing athletes.
Qatari investors preparing imminent bid for Manchester United – Bloomberg
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2023
Qatari investors are preparing to make a bid to buy Premier League club Manchester United in the coming days, Bloomberg reported on Monday (February 13), citing sources familiar with the deal.
The report added that the consortium will submit an initial bid for the club by the end of the week, and that officials from Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) are helping with preparations for the bid.
Reuters has contacted Manchester United for comment.
All bids must be made before February 17 with the club’s U.S. Owners, the Glazer family, seeking around £6billion.
Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS formally entered the bidding process to buy United last month after the club’s U.S. owners, the Glazer family, said in November they had begun looking at options including new investment or a potential sale.
Earlier this month, the Daily Mail newspaper reported that Qatari investors are planning to make a huge bid to buy Premier League club Manchester United.
The Daily Mail report stated the interested investors are separate from QSI, which owns French side Paris St Germain, and that the money will come from an “individual fund” rather than a sovereign wealth fund.
Manchester United fans display banners in protest of the Glazer family’s ownership of the club inside the stadium
There are also media reports suggesting the CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk is considering a bid to buy the club.
In August, Musk – the world’s richest person, tweeted he was buying the English soccer club – only to say a little later it was all part of “a long-running joke”.
United, managed by Erik ten Hag, are third in the league on 46 points after 23 games, two points behind Manchester City and five adrift of leaders Arsenal.
Thai Senior Professional Golf Association join hands with Zen Golfer’s Factory on allowing Japanese senior golfers to participate in Bangkok golf programme
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2023
Thai Senior Professional Golf Association (TSPGA) has collaborated with Zen Golfer’s Factory on allowing Japanese senior golfers to participate in Thai Senior Tour 2023’s qualifying school golf programme.
The programme is being held at Legacy Golf Club in Bangkok from February 13 to 15.
Zen Golfer’s Factory, the first importer and distributor of golf equipment from Japan via an online platform in Thailand, also supported TSPGA in organising the fifth stage of Thai Senior Tour 2023 golf competition at Legacy Golf Club in Bangkok from August 9 to 11.
This collaboration aims to promote Thailand among foreigners, stimulate tourism and facilitate golf-related business operations in Thailand, said TSPGA president Sutin Darunyothin.
He added that Zen Golfer’s Factory is well-known among Japanese golfers.
“We are lucky that the association has received support from Zen Golfer’s Factory in organising the fifth stage of Thai Senior Tour 2023 from August 9-11 at Legacy Golf Club in Bangkok,” he said.
Earlier, Zen Golfer’s Factory organised a special golf competition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its establishment at Legacy Golf Club on Sunday
Japan’s ambassador to Thailand, Kazuya Nashida, presided over the competition’s opening ceremony, while several golfers from Japan and Thailand participated in the competition.
Thai professional golfers participated in the competition including Thanyakon Khrongpha, Ploychompoo Wilairungruang and Nemitra Chantanakhet.
Meanwhile, TSPGA president Sutin Darunyothin congratulated Zen Golfer’s Factory founder Akinari Nakamura founder on this occasion.
Thai Senior Tour 2023 comprises six competitions for cash rewards totalling 7 million baht. The competitions are scheduled to be organised as follows: First stage: Panorama Golf and Country Club, Nakhon Ratchasima, February 22-24 Second stage: Alpine Golf Resort, Chiang Mai, March 29-31 Third stage: Phuket Country Club, Phuket, April 24-27 Fourth stage: Artitaya Golf & Resort, Nakhon Nayok, May 16-18 Fifth stage: Legacy Golf Club, Bangkok, August 9-11 Sixth stage: Royal Hua Hin Golf Club, Prachuap Khiri Khan, September 5-7
Muay Thai legend asks Zuckerberg to referee Facebook dispute with Cambodians
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2023
Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for help on Saturday following a new round of cyberbullying by Cambodians who dispute his assertions that Muay Thai is the No 1 style of kick boxing and that he is genuinely Thai.
Cambodians have been claiming on Facebook that Buakaw has Cambodian lineage even though Buakaw denies this.
The Facebook page for his Banchamek Gym also reiterates that Buakaw has no problems with Cambodians or their country’s style of kick-boxing: Kun Khmer.
It also asked Cambodian boxing agencies to pay the remaining 2.7 million baht owed for hiring Buakaw to participate in the World Fight Tournament in Cambodia.
A Cambodian Facebook page subsequently urged people to report to Facebook that the Facebook page of Banchamek Gym was making false statements.
A large number of reports criticising a Facebook page could result in its deletion.
“Dear Mark Zuckerberg, our Facebook page has been reported a lot lately. Please help us,” the Banchamek Gym’s Facebook page said.
The post has drawn more than 3,400 comments and 673 shares as of Sunday.
Cambodia, which is hosting this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, sparked controversy when it replaced Muay Thai with Kun Khmer as one of the sports.
Host Cambodia has dropped Muay Thai from disciplines for the 2023 SEA Games, and replaced it with its own version, Kun Khmer. This led to protests by Thailand that the host country had simply changed the name of the sport from Muay Thai to Kun Khmer.
Cambodia, however, argues that Kun Khmer is an ancient martial art, from which Muay Thai was born.
Thailand decided to boycott the Kun Khmer competition on grounds that the Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) has announced that boxing martial arts that involve the use of fists, knees and elbows must be called “muay” only.
What are the differences between Muay Thai and Kun Khmer?
Muay in Thai means boxing.
Muay Thai has existed since the ancient days but there are no official records of when the martial art came into existence.
Kun Khmer in Khmer means a traditional martial art of the ancient Khmer people. Sometimes, it is called Pradal Serey.
It is believed that Kun Khmer originated from the Khmer Empire period in 802AD. There is no evidence on whether Kun Khmer developed from the local people’s culture or from India.
Experts believe Muay and Kun Khmer share the same cultural origin before they diverged into Thai and Cambodian martial arts.
The modern era
In 1913, international boxing was taught at the Suan Kularb College.
This led to the coining of Muay Thai to differentiate the local martial art from international boxing.
In 1921, Muay Thai became a profession with a dedicated permanent stadium in Thailand for the first time. The stadium was used for both Muay Thai and international boxing. Referees were used for the first time and Muay Thai fighters had to wear gloves for the first time.
Kun Khmer During the colonial era (1863–1953), the French saw Kun Khmer as a cruel, so they improvised it into a sport by dividing the competition into rounds and requiring fighters to fight on stage with gloves.
Style Although the two martial arts are similar, IFMA general secretary Stephan Fox said “Kun Khmer is not Muay Thai, like judo is not karate.”
Traditional dance before boxing Muay Thai dances or wai kru that precede boxing originated from the Sukhothai period. There are many postures of the dance.
Kun Khmer dance is called kun kru or thvayobangkoum krou. There are 17 postures and most originate from the Ramayana epic.
Music Muay Thai’s traditional music is performed by a Java wind pipe, two drums and tiny cymbals.
Kun Khmer calls its traditional music vung phleng pradall or vung phleng klang khek.
The music is performed by a sralai or a pipe, two sampho drungs and tiny cymbals.
Muay Thai and Kun Khmer music sound similar.
Fighting rules Muay Thai and Kun Khmer have similar fighting rules.
Participation in SEA Games Muay Thai has been held in the SEA Games for five times — in 2007, 2009, 2013, 2019 and 2022.
Kun Khmer is being held in 2023.
In 1995, Cambodia had suggested that Muay Thai, be referred to as “Sovannaphum boxing” or “SEA Boxing”, which represented Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Sovannaphum means “golden land” in Khmer and is written as Suwannabhumi in Thai.
However, other nations especially Thailand, were not keen on this change, arguing that Thailand was responsible for making its boxing style an international sport.
Nation Group’s Shine backs Thai sports sector after winning badminton medal
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
The TP12 badminton team, led by Boonrawd Brewery senior executive vice president Piti Bhirombhakdi, clinched titles in several categories of the recent Thailand Open Masters Games in Chonburi.
The tournament at Tassana Garden sports club saw the team’s pair of Nation Group CEO and president, Shine Bunnag, and former Thailand national athlete, Poompat Sapkulchananart, win the bronze medal in the over-35 men’s doubles category.
Meanwhile, the team’s pairing of Piti and another former Thailand national team athlete, Sudket Prapakamol, won a silver medal in the over-40 men’s doubles.
TP12’s duo of former Thailand national team athletes, Boonsak Ponsana and Jakrapan Thanathiratham, won the gold medal in the over-40 men’s doubles.
Speaking after the competition, Shine said he was pleased with the results. He thanked Piti for allowing him to join the team and Poompat for pairing with him.
He also thanked the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) for organising the Thailand Open Masters Games.
“This is a good competition as it covers various types of sports, while also enabling athletes and sports enthusiasts of all ages to exchange knowledge and skills,” he said.
He also vowed to support the SAT in organising similar competitions to promote the Thai sport industry.
The 3rd Thailand Open Masters Games is being held until Sunday and features various sports, including tennis, badminton, gateball, athletics, golf, dancesport, karate, woodball, petong, table tennis, football, basketball, sepak takraw, swimming, bodybuilding, bridge, and stand-up paddleboarding.
A dozen countries competed in the badminton tournament, which featured athletes from Thailand, India, China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the UK, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and the US.
Sending kickboxers to SEA Games ‘will threaten Muay Thai Olympic bid’
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
Six countries will not join the kickboxing competition at this year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) said on Thursday.
Controversy was sparked when this year’s SEA Games host Cambodia announced kickboxing would be referred to by its local name, “Kun Khmer”, rather than Muay Thai. The 2023 SEA Games will run from May 5 to 17.
IFMA chairman Sakchai Thapsuwan said Thailand cannot send athletes to the competition as the country does not have Kun Khmer sports associations.
He also said Kun Khmer had not met World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) international standards.
“We cannot send our Muay Thai athletes to join the competition,” he said, adding that the National Olympic Committee of Thailand has also confirmed that no Thai athletes will compete in Kun Khmer.
Thailand is among six IFMA member-countries that have been warned not to send athletes to the SEA Games Kun Khmer, along with Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore, Sakchai said.
“Any country members that send athletes to join the competition will be banned from participating in IFMA competitions or activities for two years.”
He added that non-member countries are free to send their kickboxing athletes, and at least four countries must participate to make the competition viable.
Brunei and Timor-Leste have no kickboxing associations while Myanmar, Laos and host Cambodia are not IFMA members, according to Sakchai.
“However, it is clear that IFMA six country members will not participate in the Kun Khmer competition,” he said.
The IFMA’s move was not aimed at defaming Kun Khmer, he added.
Echoing Sakchai, IFMA general secretary Stephan Fox said the association did not want to become an enemy of the Kun Khmer community.
He said Kun Khmer is a recognised martial art, like Muay Thai, judo, karate and taekwondo, but has not yet been certified by sports associations such as WADA and the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport.
“IFMA country members have been warned not to send athletes to join the Kun Khmer contest, due to issues around prohibited substances, fair judging and athletes’ safety,” he said, adding that the move is not a boycott.
He said the decision aims to prevent athletes from being banned by international sports organisations in the future, and was also essential to promote Muay Thai’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.
Host Cambodia has announced that 19 gold medals will be available in different categories of the Kun Khmer competition.
It added that six countries have joined the competition as members of the Kun Khmer International Federation – Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Super Bowl ads look to score in spite of ‘astronomical’ pricing
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
The big game’s kickoff may still be a few days away, but commercials for the Super Bowl LVII are already generating buzz.
This year crypto is out, and beer is in.
“Going back years, it’s a Budweiser show and now we have new entrants,” said Derek Rucker, marketing professor at Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management. “That’s going to be really fascinating, because not only are they trying to make their mark within the Super Bowl, but there is going to be talk about who did it best.”
While Anheuser-Busch will retain a commanding presence, the beverage giant gave up its rights to be the exclusive alcohol advertiser this year. Heineken, Molson Coors, Sam Adams, and Remy Martin are among its competitors in the beer and spirits business planning to run ads during the February 12 event.
As in years past, star power is front and center.
“We’ve seen a lot of celebrities being teased, you know, and we see teasing as part of what brands are doing to get the most value out of their ads,” Rucker said, adding that celebrities, along with animals, humor and special effects are all “common Super Bowl ad themes.”
Actor Miles Teller and his wife Keleigh Sperry dance in Bud Light’s ad. Singer and songwriter Sarah McLachlan makes a cameo for Busch Light, and former NFL star Ron Gronkowski will take a live kick in the third quarter for sports betting company Fanduel.
The price tag for brands to showcase their products on one of the most-watched television broadcasts is steep.
Rihanna and Nadeska Alexis pose for photos during the Halftime Show Press Conference.
“The pricing is incredible this year,” said Derek Rucker, marketing professor at Northwestern University’s J.L. Kellogg School of Management. “We’re hearing numbers around $7 million for 30 seconds, which is just astronomical.”
The National Football League’s annual final playoff game pulls in on average some 100 million viewers. For some brands, that massive reach makes the expense worthwhile.
“The Super Bowl isn’t just seeing that commercial for 30 seconds. When you buy a spot, there’s an opportunity to both excite people about your brand’s appearance before the spot and excite them afterwards. So those are some of the elements that really make the Super Bowl so appealing for brands,” Rucker said.
The Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will play for the Super Bowl LVII title from the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Sunday (February 12).
New mom Rihanna excited to return to stage for Super Bowl halftime show
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
Nine-time Grammy Award winner Rihanna will make her highly anticipated return to live performance at Super Bowl 57 on Sunday, headlining a halftime show that will highlight her Caribbean culture.
The Barbados-born singer has not released a solo album since January 2016 and fans will be clamoring for the 34-year-old chart-topper when she takes the stage for an audience of millions at State Farm Stadium, where the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
The global superstar said she was inspired to take on the challenge after giving birth to her first child in May.
“When you become a mom there’s something that just happens (and) you feel like you can take on the world, you can do anything,” she told reporters in Phoenix on Thursday (February 9).
“So as scary as that was because I haven’t been on stage in seven years, there’s something exhilarating about the challenge of it all. And it’s important for me to this, this year. It’s important for representation, it’s important for my son to see that.”
Her only solo music released in the last seven years came in October, when she released “Lift Me Up” in tribute to late actor Chadwick Boseman for the Marvel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” for which she was nominated for an Academy Award.
It marks the second time that Rihanna was asked to perform at the Super Bowl, after she reportedly turned down an offer in 2018 out of solidarity for quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racial injustice.
Rihanna and Nadeska Alexis pose for photos during the Halftime Show Press Conference.
While the details of the annual halftime show are as closely guarded as the opposing teams’ playbooks, Rihanna hinted that she would incorporate elements of her Carribean culture in the performance.
“That’s a big part of why this is important for me to do this show: representation, representing for immigrants, representing for my country, Barbados, representing for Black women everywhere,” she said.
It will take a crew of 300 to 400 workers to assemble the stage in just eight minutes – and break it down just as quickly – a feat of ingenuity requiring military-like precision for the 13-minute halftime concert.
“It’s incredible – it’s almost impossible,” said Rihanna, who told an overflow crowd of reporters on Thursday that she hadn’t slept the night before when an on-site rehearsal ran long.
“I’ve been so focused on the Super Bowl I totally forgot that my birthday is coming up,” she said. “I totally forgot about Valentine’s Day. I am just like, Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl.”
Super League only way out for European football says A22 CEO
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2023
The European Super League project has adapted to criticism from two years ago when it was first launched but still remains the only solution to European football’s growing problems, the CEO of A22 Sports Management, a company formed to sponsor and assist in the creation of a breakaway soccer league, said on Thursday (February 9).
Earlier on Thursday, the company published preliminary results of talks with 50 European clubs and stakeholders of football, saying “the vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change.”
European heavyweights Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among 12 clubs to announce a breakaway Super League in April 2021.
But the move spectacularly collapsed within 48 hours after an outcry from fans, governments and players forced most teams to pull out, leaving the three as holdouts.
The ESL took its case to a Spanish court which subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
At issue in the ongoing court case is whether statutes of UEFA and FIFA that allow the European and world soccer governing bodies respectively to block rival events and bar clubs and players from taking part conform with EU competition rules.
“This project has now evolved,” Bernd Reichart told Reuters in an interview. “It has adapted to some criticism, it has adapted to some conclusions, to some evolutions in the market and it will also adapt once we have a certain legal certainty about how we can proceed with our proposals.”
A future European Super League could include as many as 80 teams split into several divisions, breaking what Reichart said was a monopoly of competitions run by UEFA.
“We see competitive imbalances making it harder and harder for clubs to dream about European success and to be competitive with leagues like the English Premier League which is increasing the gap and their dominance,” he said.
“Their dominance is scary for clubs who have the vision to compete at the highest level.”
Reichart said the Super League would boost revenues for clubs and would allow them greater control.
“I think it’s in the interest of the whole industry … that we try to create and to run the most attractive, most appealing, most exciting sporting event there is.
“Currently the European competitions are not living up to their potential.”
The preliminary findings released on Thursday, however, triggered angry reactions from national and European leagues as well as European club and fan associations who oppose the Super League project.
“In the end, we want to enable clubs to run their own destiny and clubs to run the European competitions in a very similar fashion as they do in their domestic leagues,” Reichart said.
“I’m pretty convinced that they (fans) also believe that the destiny of the club should be in the hands of a club government,” he added.
UEFA, the biggest opponent to the ESL plan which it sees as threatening its own Champions League club competition, did not comment on Thursday.
“UEFA is running an activity – European club football – where they have no competition, which is something they would like to defend because it’s a very, very comfortable situation,” Reichart said.
“It’s even understandable that they want to continue to save the status quo, but the question is whether or not the clubs agree on that and whether or not the need for alternatives and for innovation and for reforms is stronger.”