Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a combat sport that originated in Thailand. The sport has gained popularity around the world, including in Senegal, where it has attracted a growing number of practitioners.
In Senegal, Muay Thai is often referred to as "boxe thaïlandaise." The sport has its roots in the traditional wrestling and combat sports of Senegal, such as Laamb and Dambe. Muay Thai has gained a following in the country, with several gyms and training centers now offering classes.
One of the most prominent figures in Muay Thai in Senegal is Moustapha Keita, who is known as "Mous" in the Muay Thai community. Keita is a former professional Muay Thai fighter who has dedicated his life to promoting the sport in Senegal. He has founded several Muay Thai gyms in the country, including the Mous Muay Thai Academy in Dakar.
Keita's efforts have helped to popularize Muay Thai in Senegal, and the sport has gained a following among young people in particular. The sport is seen as a way to build discipline, strength, and self-confidence, and many young Senegalese are attracted to its physical and mental challenges.
Muay Thai has also provided opportunities for Senegalese fighters to compete on the international stage. In 2015, Senegal hosted its first Muay Thai World Championship, which attracted fighters from around the world. Several Senegalese fighters competed in the championship, including Cheick Sidibe and Saliou Ngom.
Muay Thai has also gained the attention of the Senegalese government, which has recognized the sport as an official discipline. In 2019, Senegal's Ministry of Sports and Recreation announced that Muay Thai would be included in the country's national sports program.
Despite its growing popularity, Muay Thai still faces challenges in Senegal. The sport is relatively new to the country, and many people are learning its rules and techniques. There is also a need for more trained coaches and officials to help develop the sport.
However, despite the challenges, many up and coming fighters are training in Muay Thai to fight on the global stage and there is momentum in the sector. There is talent in the country and interest is growing rapidly.
With the dedication of fighters like Moustapha Keita and the growing interest of young people, Muay Thai is poised to become a significant sport in Senegal. Its unique combination of physical and mental challenges, along with its deep roots in Senegalese combat sports, make it a natural fit for the country's athletic culture.