100 Women: Di Thai boxer wey dem ban from ring because na woman

Ratchadaphon Winhantamma
Image example Ratchadaphon Winhantamma na professional Muay Thai fighter

By tradition, female Thai boxers must crawl under rope to enter ring, but di men go just climb over di ropes.

Muay Thai, wey be another name for Thai boxing, na big national sport for di country wey only people wey get liver fit do.

E get eight areas for di body wey dem concentrate on top and people sef dey do juju join for di sport.

For Muay Thai, di head dey very important and sacred. Dem dey use juju bless head band wey dem dey call mongkol wey di fighters dey wear.

Meanwhile, menstruation na wahala wey dem dey feel say dey spoil di juju. So dem no dey allow women pass on top di boxing ring ropes, even when di woman no get period. Some women no dey follow dis rule.

Di two boxing stadiums wey important pass for Thailand, Rajadamnern and Lumpinee, no dey allow women fight at all at all.

Signage at the new Lumpinee stadium in north Bangkok reads, 'Ladies please don't touch the stage' Image copyright Niamh Griffin
Image example Sign wey dey di new Lumpinee stadium for north Bangkok

Even as all dis problems dey, Ratchadaphon Winhantamma, one 21-year-old woman and professional Muay Thai boxer, say di only time when she go stop to dey fight na when body tire.

Ratchadaphon, wey people dey call "Sawsing Sor Sopit" for Thailand don win gold for di fifth Turkmenistan Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

She say she ready to work harder so she go fit ginger younger generation of girls wey wan become fighter for Thailand.

She say "Because say I marry come born pickin no mean say I still no want to be Muay Thai fighter.

Ratchadaphon Winhantamma with her gold medal

Last year, Sawsing comot for house for three months to go do training.

"Di thing hard me, as I leave my five-month-old pickin for house come go practice for competition even as my body never recover from delivery".

She say her trainer don ask why she leave her small pickin for house come enter ring to fight.

"But di way I dey think am dey different".

"I go try my best as a mother to train my pickin well. But as a female fighter, I wan make I succeed well-well so as to help other women".

Ratchadaphon Winhantamma with her husband and son
Image example Ratchadaphon Winhantamma husband Kanchit Chaiyaphon too be Muay Thai fighter

But di fact be say Sawsing story different because plenty female fighters for Thailand no dey go far for dia career because of family mata or maybe dem no get person wey go sponsor them.

Even di fact say dem no fit fight for inside Lumpinee and Rajadamnern stadium na big problem.

So, female athletes dey struggle to get commercial sponsors wey fit support dia fighting.

Pariyakorn Ratanasuban, wey be Thai promoter for female boxers for Onesongchai Boxing Promotion say "e be like other sports wey male athletes dey make more money pass women dem. E no different for boxing.

Pariyakorn na di daughter of ogbonge Muay Thai promoter, Songchai Ratanasuban, and she don dey work for boxing promotion for 30 years.

Pariyakorn Ratanasuban is one of Thailand's only female Muay Thai promoters
Image example Pariyakorn Ratanasuban na one of di only female Muay Thai promoters wey dey Thailand

"Sponsors still dey very important for di boxing industry and opportunities wey boxers go get and how much money dem go collect go depend on sponsors.

Most sponsors still feel say boxing na man sport so na dia dem dey put money.

Some promoters no just wan see women fight.

Sawsing say successful female Muay Thai boxer wey don tay for boxing fit make 40,000 baht for one fight but male boxer wey just dey start fit make 70,000 baht.

"Dem do di rules for male fighters so e dey difficult for us to enter ring even if na di ultimate thing wey we dey wish for Muay Thai boxers for di country.

Ratchadaphon Winhantamma strapping her hands

On top all dis problems, Pariyakorn say di sport industry for Thailand and for other countries don dey accept wetin women fit do as Muay Thai boxers.

Dis year na di first time wey dem go allow transgender fighter enter ring fight for Bangkok's Lumpinee Boxing Stadium.

Even Pariyakon's company still dey continue to promote female Muay Thai boxing for national and international level.

Dis one don dey give women opportunity to get career for boxing.

Ratchadaphon Winhantamma sparring in the ring

She say "Wetin important pass na to change how sponsors dey think about female Muay Thai fighters."

"All female boxers suppose get opportunity to become champions, even as dem dey face plenty problems."

"Make dem continue to dey train, work hard so dem go fit get wetin dem want."

"Opportunities go come, sponsors or promoters go want them when dem don become heroes and role models."

Lara Owen BBC Women's Affairs Journalist East Asia, Watchiranont Thongtep BBC Thai na im do di tori.

Wasawat Lukharang, from BBC Thai service na im supply foto.

Wetin be 100 Women?

BBC 100 Women dey mention names of 100 women wey dey influence and inspire women all over di world every year. For 2017, we dey challenge dem say make dem tackle four of the biggest problems wey women dey face today - di glass ceiling, female illiteracy, harassment for public and sexism for sport.

With your help, dem go tell us real solutions wey fit help for real life and we want make you join with your ideas. You go see us for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use #100Women


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