GOING BEYOND BOUNDARIES

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It is Maryam Murthasa, another Muay Thai medalist that we are talking with this week. She is actually the sister of Bassam Murthasa, with whom Scribbler coversed last week. Maryam is 13 years old and is in grade 09 in Good Hope College, Mawanella.  Maryam also has achieved many victories in Muay Thai.

Muay Thai, sometimes referred to as Thai boxing, as described in the previous article too, is a combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This discipline is known as the ‘art of eight limbs’, as it is characterised by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees and shins. The origin of Muay Thai is in Thailand. It has received full recognition as a sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and has been registered as the 63rd National sport of Sri Lanka under the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

Being a girl is never a problem

Recalling on how she first started learning Muay Thai, Maryam Murthasa mentioned that she was greatly inspired by her brother. “My brother became a martial artist at a very early age and we were very proud of him. Seeing his skills at home as well as in competitions I was also inspired to learn Muay Thai and perform like him one day. So I started taking classes from my brother’s trainer, N.H.M. Fahid, President of Iron Martial Arts Association, Sri Lanka.”

“First, it was a bit challenging for me as I was the only girl in the class. I felt a little uncomfortable, but soon my father also joined the class with me. Thereafter, I practiced with my father and brother. It was great. Soon I got on with the practices and other martial artists in the class and mastered the art of Muay Thai happily,” she shared.

Walking on the path of success

Despite the fact that Maryam started her journey with a little delay when compared to her brother, Bassam, she is now equally skilled as him and has won many medals in various competitions held nationally as well as internationally.

Maryam won her first Gold Medal in 2019, in her debut competition, the Provincial Muay Thai Championship. Going for the national level, she was able to secure the Bronze Medal in Muay Thai National Championship in the same year.

She had the chance to take part in numerous international events later on and of course she has won them too. Maryam won a Bronze medal in UTS Muay Thai Virtual World Championship which was held in 2020 amidst the pandemic outbreak. In the same year, she won a Silver medal in the IFMA Virtual Youth Festival. Add to the list, Maryam won the Gold medal in Muay Thai National Championship 2020 and entered into the National Muay Thai pool in the same year.

Her most recent victories were marked at the IFMA Muay Thai World Championship 2022, which was held in Malaysia with the participation of more than 800 athletes representing around 101 countries all over the world. “I won the Silver medal in the Wai Kru competition and the Bronze medal in the Fight-one to one bout event. It was a great experience for me to train with veteran trainers from various countries and to make new friends from foreign countries. I gained a lot of experience. Indeed, I am really happy that I won these medals,” Maryam shared her sentiments.

Achieving the balance of life

“Muay Thai hasn’t ever been a burden or a disturbance to my academic life. Rather it was a help for me to balance my life. I learned how to focus well, to be confident and not to give up at any circumstances through practices. I applied them to my life too. So I am performing better in my studies also,” Maryam said upon the question whether she could balance both sports and education. She mentioned that she is used to a schedule which allows her to find time for practice while not missing out other things. “I have a schedule and I always stick to it. When I practice I practice with my full energy and during the studies I keep my complete focus on it.”

Being an inspiration

Not only that Maryam has gone beyond the boundaries and achieve her goals, but also she has inspired many others to do so. “When I joined the Muay Thai class first, I was the only girl and as I said earlier also I didn’t quit because of my father’s support. Nevertheless, as I continued the classes, girls also started to join the class one by one. Now there are many girls who practice Muay Thai with us,” she shared. “I always believe that if you are passionate and dedicated towards something, you can surely achieve it. That’s my vision in life.”

“Also, I would like to make this an opportunity to thank everyone who supported me, including my parents, two brothers and my trainer. He is an amazing teacher. I would like to thank the principal and the teachers as well as my friends from the school too,” she added.

Moreover, Maryam mentioned that she also hopes to win a gold medal at Olympics one day. Scribbler wishes our little heroine all the best for her future endeavours.

By Induwara Athapattu