Israel’s Amit Mdah advanced to the semifinals at the IFMA Youth Muaythai World Championships in Bangkok this week when his Iraqi opponent refused to compete in their quarterfinal match.
Mdah, 17, a resident of the village of Kisra-Sumei in the Western Galilee, holds the European title and won a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships a year ago. This time he was guaranteed a medal after his Iraqi rival Mohammed Jalal did not appear in the battle against him. Before that he won 10-9 against Hamdan Mohammed from the United Arab Emirates.
The protest of the Druze community in the wake of the Nation-State Law occupies one of the main topics of discussion in Israeli society these days. However, Druze athletes continue to represent the country successfully, bring honor, and also suffer from anti-Israeli behavior by competitors from Arab countries.
Mdah, who competes in the under-57 kg category, faced Russian Mohammed Yusuf Momonhomov late Tuesday in the semifinals.
The Israeli delegation to the championships includes eight male athletes and two female athletes, aged 11 to 17. Before the competition, the young athletes were in a training camp in Thailand.
Operating under the auspices for Ayelet, the federation of non-Olympic sports in Israel, muaythai athletes receive support from the organization and help in sorting out flights to competitions and training camps, equipment and professional guidance.
Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev congratulated Mdah on his achievement and responded to the Iraqi’s refusal to confront him: “It is shameful that there are still sportsmen who do not act in a sportsmanlike manner and involve politics and sports. This is proof that no one will stand against those competitors – Muslims, Circassians, Christians, Druze or Jews, because the fact that our athletes represent the State of Israel is becoming an issue in the eyes of the athletes who have turned the sports arena into an arena of political wrestling. “
“I am proud of you and of your achievement… and am waiting for your visit to my office as soon as you return to our wonderful country,” added Regev.