Teen wins world silver medal
Moerewa teen Tasha Wihongi is celebrating a silver medal placing at the recent world youth championships for Thai boxing.
Wihongi says the result was ‘‘cool, but disappointing’’. The main focus was to win the gold medal, she says.
‘‘I thought I’d won the fight, but apparently not. But it was second best in the world, so I was rapt, happy as.
‘‘To even get a medal was pretty cool.’’
Competing in the 16 to 17-yearold, 72-75kg, section, Wihongi had just one fight against a Thai fighter out of a planned three, after her opponents were too heavy to make the weight requirements.
The IFMA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) championships were held in Bangkok, Thailand from August 3-11, with Wihongi arriving a week before to acclimatise to daily temperatures of more than 30 degrees celsius.
In the lead up to the event, which was Wihongi’s first time representing the New Zealand Black Gloves, the 17-year-old was training twice a day, six days a week.
Having now reached the age to move into open competition against women, Wihongi says she is unsure whether she will now compete in this section - but there have been discussions about her training towards possible Olympic selection.
Tasha’s brother Matthew also competed in Thailand, but was eliminated during the first round of competition when his nose bleed wouldn’t stop.
Their parents and other siblings also travelled over, as part of the New Zealand contingent of 30 fighters, plus a large entourage.
In Thai boxing points are scored by using knees, kicks, punches and elbows against opponents, but fights can also be won by knockout or technical knockout.
Bay of Islands Lee Gar trainer Nik Jessop, who works with the Wihongi’s says it is the ‘‘ultimate pilgrimage’’ to compete in the sport in its home country of Thailand.
‘‘To fight and see the world’s best fight is amazing.
‘‘It’s awesome for our kids, they have to work pretty hard to get their medal.
‘‘Tasha and her brother are great role models for our youth in Tai Tokerau.’’
Tasha Wihongi with her silver medal from the world youth Thai boxing championships.
Nik Jessop and Tasha Wihongi often take their training outside, this time at Waitangi.