Newly-crowned Muaythai World Champion Svetlana Vinnikova (RUS) is The World Games Athlete of May 2018! Congratulations!
The World Games 2017 Champion (women 60 kg) is also reigning European Champion (women 63 kg). Because of her gold at The World Games, she was chosen as Martial Arts Athlete of the Year in Russia last year.
Svetlana Vinnikova says that she had not expected to compete at The World Games. “I had not thought about The World Games, because my weight category was not in the programme. But 2½ months before the Games I won gold at the World Championships, and I was told that if I can compete in women 60 kg, I can represent Russia at The World Games. I couldn’t believe this at first, but it was a great honour for me and I took the chance. The World Games is the top level of competition, and only held every 4 years. I just had to succeed – and so I did.”
IFMA Muaythai Secretary General Stephan Fox says: “Svetlana won at The World Games in the first year that Muaythai athletes have had this opportunity, and as the first to win gold, she will be an inspiration for generations of young athletes in Russia. She is already teaching women-only classes in Moscow, and no doubt we will see future stars shining in the ring because of her example.”
Svetlana Vinnikova began Muaythai at the age of 19. “I had never been fond of sports. I actually hated going to gym classes at school. But Muaythai is different! It is tough, but a graceful and attractive sport! One may hit with arms and legs, elbows and knees, clinch, chip, pickup and use many other techniques. One may use strike combinations and try something new each time. Muaythai is true art. And the best thing about Muaythai is that it’s hard to be in it, to train, to compete, to work-out, to try and to succeed, to rise above myself. I hate things that are easy and simple!”
Vinnikova was excited to hear that she was chosen as The World Games Athlete of the Month: “This is the perfect result of all the hard work put in by me and my coach! The award motivates me to become even better and stronger!”
Vinnikova is a fierce advocate for women in sport in Russia, and works with Reebok RU to promote women's training sessions and fitness tips. She also runs ‘women-only’ training sessions in Moscow.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.