Uttaradit, Thailand:Sport not only helps keep a person physically fit but also mentally strong and the ancient martial art of Muay Thai boxing is proof of that. Dozens of Thai boys and girls have said yes to this sport and no to drugs. They are not vying for a role in a sequel to Hollywood blockbuster Rocky but simply making some money to make ends meet. 12-year old national champion Phannipa and twin sister Sawinee Chaithes are just among the many Thai girls who are addicted to the sport of Muay Thai or kickboxing. At the end of another day at school it's the beginning of an even tougher class for them, which needs close to five hours of physical exercise each day. "The children live with their grandparents who may not understand their needs. This is why we worry about the children that they might mix with the wrong company and get involved with drugs," said Chuchart Khumpuang, Director, Suksawittaya School. Most of the children come from nearby villages and live under severe conditions of poverty. Boxing has given most of them a new lease of life. Worth the pain Apart from helping the children spend their time constructively, they manage to make about $26 from every match, money that is well worth the pain especially for the sisters. "I like it when I fight. It's a little painful, but I can make some money to support my grandmother," said Phannipa Chaithes, Muay Thai Boxer. "I pity them every time they fight in a match because I'm afraid they will get hurt. But they have to do it because if they don't fight, they'll have no money," said Lubhiyat Chaites, twins' grandmother. The Suksawittaya School helps around 40 such girls and boys to sharpen their kicks and punches. While this ancient martial art may not serve as a long-term career for these children, it certainly gives them a means of earning their livelihood for the time being.
Topics : Boxing