Israelis are hopeful that Samaria resident Kibedy Gordon will qualify for the World Games in 2021 and the 2024 Olympics in France.
By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler, World Israel News
Kibedy Gordon, 19, will represent Israel in the 2019 International Federation of Muaythai (IFMA) Senior World Championships in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 19 to 30.
Gordon, a resident of the biblical city of Shiloh in Samaria, is the youngest competitor in his category: Male, 57 kg (125 lbs.), Class A.
Muaythai or Thai boxing is a combat sport of Thailand that combines the use of fists, elbows, knees and shins, along with various clinching techniques.
The star athlete has been practicing Muaythai since the age of eight.
“Kibedy’s older brother Autzmaw first learned martial arts when he was a Golani soldier in the Israeli army,” Chaninat Hashem Gordon, mother of Kibedy, told World Israel News.
“This led to Muaythai, which eventually connected us to training with Benny Cogan, Israel’s national kickboxing and Muaythai coach,” she said.
The Gordon family moved to Israel in 1998 from the United States.
Not only has Chaninat raised Kibedy to be a champion, her sons Ruach and Ahavat Hashem have also won medals at international competitions, including three gold medals in the youth categories at the European Cups 2017 and 2018 in Antalya, Turkey.
Chaninat told World Israel News that Muaythai is becoming a very popular sport in Israel, as the country’s representatives in global competitions have won many championships. Winners include not only her own children, but three-time world champion Nili Block.
Kibedy’s list of accomplishments include:
● Winner at The International Championship of the Czech Republic
● The Best boxer of European Muaythai Cup 2019 in Prague’s “Open Muaythai Cup”
● Winner in an adult division in three professional fights by KO in Koh Samui Thailand 2019
● Silver medalist in the 57 kg class at the All-Russia Muaythai Championship 2016 in Russia
● Four times IBJJ Israel youth Champion 2016- 2018
● European Muaythai Champion in 2017
● Israel Muaythai Champion in the adult division in 2018 and 2019.
Two years ago, he won his first professional fight in Thailand.
This year’s IFMA Senior World Championships is the biggest yet, with competitors hailing from over 100 countries. The IFMA competitions in 2019 and 2020 are listed as official qualification events for the esteemed World Games 2021.
“Kibedy is set to compete with 24 opponents at IFMA, some of whom will be particularly challenging,” said Chaninat. “These will include athletes from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, with the toughest from Thailand.”
The proud mother was asked about athletes from Arab countries, like Iran and Iraq, who refuse to compete with Israelis. She explained that most of the athletes want to compete with Israelis but their countries of origin forbid it.
Competitors from Iran, Iraq ‘secretly like the Israeli athletes’
“My son told me that Arab athletes try to communicate with Israeli athletes through their cell phones and would like to be friendly, but it is forbidden,” she said. “They are afraid of their country’s response but secretly like the Israeli athletes. Everyone trains so hard and then they have to forfeit against Israel. It’s very sad.”
“It is an honor to stand on the winners podium as a representative of Israel, especially when facing Arab countries. We’ll see if Iraq will compete against Kibedy in this competition. That would be a big breakthrough!,” Chaninat said.
There is a long list of competitions ahead of Kibedy before he is able to reach the Olympics.
“There are a lot of people in Israel who have high hopes that Kibedy will make it to the Olympics,” Chaninat said. “He is already the best in Europe in his category. Let’s get him to Paris in 2024 and have him represent Israel.”