SEA Games Drama: Thai kickboxer’s flamboyant celebration earns praise and threats of disqualification

A Thai SEA Games kickboxer who went viral for doing a flamboyant display after winning a match said he was almost disqualified 

Pikanet “Jimmy” Sukyik recently went viral for his victory curtsy and for representing the LGBTQ+ community after winning one of the final matches of the male kickboxing competition at this year’s SEA Games on May 14.

@jimmy.sukyik จิมขอขอบคุณช่อง @Nguyenlinhhqd และทุกช่องทาง ที่ให้ยอมรับอย่างอบอุ่นในทุกๆคอมเม้นที่เอ็นดูและรักจิมนะค้าบบบบ……รักกกกก❤️🇹🇭🇰🇭🇻🇳 #fyp #cambodia2023 #seagames2023 #จิมมี่พิฆเนศ #jimmykickboxing ♬ original sound – jimmy.sukyik

But yesterday, Jimmy said he had been threatened with disqualification by the Asian Kickboxing Federation after his display was deemed inappropriate.

Although his actions earned admiration from fans across the region, the Asian Kickboxing Federation apparently holds a different view, with one of their representative warning Jimmy not to display such characteristics or gestures on stage again as they were deemed disrespectful to his opponents. The representative also warned Jimmy he could be barred from competing in future competitions.

This incident led the executives of the Kickboxing Association of Thailand to come forward and say that if Jimmy’s rights were revoked due to self-expression, all Thai kickboxing athletes would withdraw from competition.

As a result, the Asian Kickboxing Federation softened its stance and said it would allow the Thai athletes to continue competing but they must sign a document certifying that they would not engage in any such behavior again.

The association confirmed today that it would send a letter to address and review the matter and establish uniform criteria and decision-making standards.

On Wednesday, both Prawit Sawatdiraksa, the Thai kickboxing team’s manager, and Jimmy wrote a letter of apology to the SEA Games management team.

“On behalf of the Thai national kickboxing team, I would like to assure you that inappropriate displays of joy will not happen again,” the letter said.

Jimmy’s flamboyant display occurred on Sunday, when Thailand and Cambodia faced off in one of the final stages of the men’s Kun Khmer, the kickboxing sport that replaced Muay Thai in the 32nd SEA Games, which took place in Phnom Penh and ended on Wednesday.

Jimmy made a ballerina-like twirl when entering the stage for the fight, and amid all the drama and debate surrounding the two identical combat sports, he emerged victorious and made a low curtsy followed by a ballerina-like twirl before jumping down to hug his coach.

@conancracksport สนามมวยก็คือรันเวย์ #จิมมี่พิฆเนศ #นักมวย #kickboxing #seagame2023 ♬ original sound – Fino the Ranad

While it may have earned the ire of sports officials, Jimmy’s joyous display earning praise from the LGBTQ+ community as an example of positive representation in sports. 

Jimmy and the rest of the Thai kickboxing team are scheduled to compete at Bangkok’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in November.

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