On the 31st of March 2017, Lebanon played host to the sixth edition Arab Muay Thai Championship which was staged at the Country Lodge Club & Resort. The event spanned across three days over the weekend, with the finals going down on Sunday the 2nd of April.
The championship, which saw the participation of 13 different Arab countries, is no stranger to Lebanon as the country was previously honored to hold the 1st and 3rd editions of the competitions on its grounds. The host country racked up the biggest number of medals and came in at first place, followed by Iraq at number two, and Syria at three. It was Grand Master Sami Kiblawi, President of the Lebanese Muay Thai Federation and IFMA Executive Board member who was commended as he was handed the first-place cup. Also spotted ringside is Lebanese fan favorite martial arts fighter Mohammad Ghorabi, who lead the way for two of his students to gold.
Protect yourself at all times
It’s well known that fighters have to protect themselves at all times when they step in the ring or cage, but that normally doesn’t apply to the referee. During a bout that had Lebanon versus Iraq going at it for gold, it was the referee that got knocked out cold, and it happened with style. A a spinning back-fist that missed its intended target sent him straight to the mat. Local media present on scene captured the video which went viral over the internet in just a few days!
Scorecards Say Otherwise!
Iraqi fighter Ali Rhayem’s hand was raised by the end of his 3 round finale against the Lebanese Omar Halabi. But to many’s surprise, the judges’ scorecards show that three out of five scored the fight to the Lebanese. We might not be the experts in Muay Thai fight analysis, but the scorecards say it all. According to witnesses and to Omar’s corner, unusual disarray surrounded the judges’ tables before the winner was announced. The incident has stirred up anger on social media as fans, fighters, and officials expressed their disappointment. Omar Halabi said after the fight:
“They have messed up with the results. It was clear that rounds 2 and 3 went in my favor. When the fight ended, I was waiting for my hand to be raised, but to my dismay, my opponent’s hand was raised instead. I only want to get what I deserved, this was unfair.”
Watch the event again here. Skip to 1:00:00 for Omar Halabi Vs. Ali Rhayem.