In 1996 the first USMTA was given the chance to represent the United States of America, in one of Worlds elite events, the prestigious Princes Cup of Thailand, World Amateur Muay Thai Championships. Though time was short, a National U. S. team was brought together under guidance of team coaches, Kru Mick Doyle of Nebraska, and Kru Gregory Nelson of Minnesota, and Executive Officers Khun Clint Heyliger of New York, and Arjarn Frederick Fitzgerald of New Jersey

Behind the scenes were a group of officers who had worked many hours putting together the network that was needed to promote the team. Kruu Leon Bonewizc of Connecticut, Ms. Josefa Leston, Antonino Guy, Mr. Micheal Camerino, of Yonkers and Mr. Micheal Kojac, Mr. Jose Tolentino and Mr. Edward Olivares of New York. In the end recognition was given to the first U. S. team from many areas of American sports and politics, including the White House, though it was presented after the teams accomplishments in Thailand, nevertheless, it was well deserved. Members of the team, James Cook, Kurt Podany, and Adam Clary became American hero's and icons for the sport, walking a path that not many had traveled before.

 The Review: TEAM MUAY THAI-USA.... 

BRING HOME THE GOLD AND TWO BRONZE AT THE PRINCE'S CUP OF THAILAND INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Team Muay Thai-USA "who represented the United States of America in the Prince's Cup of Thailand International Championships, who fought against Thai, British, French, Uzbekistan and Russian fighters, were seen by 57 million viewers, 7 Thai National news papers,4 National TV stations, and 5 radio stations in Thailand. The U. S. team traveled 18'000 miles, fought 4 days of non-stop grueling bouts to win our first gold and two bronze medals. The U. S. Team paid for themselves to represent our nation."

Princes Cup of Thailand 1996 Copyright C. Heyliger

The 'Prince's Cup' Of Thailand

World Amateur Championships Uttarradit, Thailand.

The USMTA's "Team Muay Thai-USA" had a tough but fabulous time in the 1996 International Amateur Muay Thai Championships, sponsored by the Amateur Muay Thai Association Thailand, bringing home one gold and two bronze medals out of the five man team. Contrary to some, the AMTJRA  are the official representatives for Amateur Muay Thai in Thailand, and are registered under the Sports Authority of Thailand.

They are also members of the IFMA , 'International Federation of Muay Associations' , and the WMTC, ' World Muay Thai Council'. The Prince's Cup of Thailand is one of four events sponsored by Thailand, but only two are designed for international competition. First is the prestigious Kings Cup of Thailand, under the patronage of HRH King Bhomibol Adulyadej, who celebrated his 50th anniversary on the throne of Thailand, and became the longest reigning monarch this century. The second is the Prince's Cup of Thailand, named in honor of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. There are also the Queens Cup of Thailand, in honor of HRH Queen Sirikit and the Princess's Cup of Thailand in honor of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, which are for Thailand only. 

James Cook, (Bronze Medal winner), and Adam Clary (who received a knee injury which forced him to retire from the team. His courage and fortitude has left a mark in history that others can follow.

team photo-3 Copyright C. Heyliger 1999

team photo-2 Copyright C. Heyliger 1999

team photo-5 Copyright C. Heyliger 1999

  (Kurt also received a foot injury but continued on to win the Gold medal). His Gold placing fight was the last match of the event, with everyone glued to their seats as he took on the best of the Russian Heavy weights.  forced him to withdraw from going for the bronze finals). And Kurt Podany, the first U. S. (Gold finalist), ever to receive a medal at an international event for Muay Thai, became an American role model and an American icon for the sport. The Russian fighter Dimitri  Melnikov from the City of Chelyabinsk, lasted until the last round when the Russian coach threw the towel in after Dimitri received a pounding from Kurt that left the Russian hanging on the ropes. The U. S. team gained the admiration of the Thai's for their display of respect and courtesy and received the adulation from members of the audience when ever they entered the ring. 

Other countries competing in the event  included veteran and world famous instructor Arjarn Tony Moore of the British Thai Boxing Council, who came to Thailand with a very strong British team, where Kurt Podany defeated a British fighter to gain a place in the finals and the gold medal. Great sportsmanship and camaraderie was shown throughout the event between both countries. Team Muay Thai-USA was produced from fighters around the United States and was headed by team manager Khun Clint Heyliger, team Coaches, Kruu Mick Doyle and Kruu Gregory Nelson. Team Official Arjarn Frederick Fitzgerald and Team Thai interpreter Khun Pia Fitzgerald.

During the event, Mick Doyle received a shin injury that forced him to withdraw from going for the gold, a veteran Thai fighter, who gave the All Eurasian Champion from the City of Kashkent, Uzbekistan in the former Soviet Union, a run for his money, leaving the Russian with a right leg several shades of blue, when Mick pounded his opponent with spectacular Thai kicks, and gained the respect of the Uzbekistan Champion, who after the bout presented Mick with his incredible fighters gown, and an invitation to come to Uzbekistan.

Coach Greg Nelson, a former Thai fighter, now turned instructor guided the team through the grueling four days of competition, was an inspiration to the team, with his skill of back room decorum keeping the fighters in a relaxed state and frame of mind. The team; Ed Shobe (reserve fighter who had made it all the way to the U. S. team finals, winning his bout and gaining a place on the team, was unable to enter the Prince's Cup because he had  unknowingly received a broken ankle bone in the second during the team selection event held in the USA.) 

To show how much dedication was put into the team, Ed Shobe completed all three bouts where he won, with a broken ankle. The U. S. team managed to display to the Europeans some home baked U. S. talent and were able to compete in the ring against some formidable Thai's having been pitted against them in the quarter finals (Adam Clary), and semi finals (James Cook), winning against one and loosing on points in a very close decision with another. 

Team Photo-4 Copyright C. Heyliger 1999

team photo-7 Copyright C. Heyliger 1999

team photo-6  Copyright C. Heyliger 199

The end result was that the five man American team was placed third overall between the 30 competing nations and took away from the top international fighters a gold and two bronze medals. Arjarn Tony Moore said  "The American fighters have come along way since I last visited the United States, this is very good for the sport, as the Americans have learned a lot over the past several years. I don't think the event would have been complete without the presence of the United States". 

Arjarn Frederick Fitzgerald, the U. S. top Judge and referee for Muay Thai and a member of the team was voted the best referee by the Thai Referee and Judging Council who were overseeing the International event in Uttarradit. This is a great beginning for the USA as it is acknowledged that the American Muay Thai  Judge & Referee Association (AMTJRA) sister branch to the USMTA have proved themselves to be on the right track. Arjarn Fitzgerald's work was noticed by the Thai's who voted him the best and expressed this by announcing the vote publicly. Congratulations to the first U. S. National Amateur team for a job well done.

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc.. All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004