Dmirty Valent, one of the strongest muaythai athletes in Belarus, and the winner of the gold medal in 81 division at the IFMA World Championships 2016 was one of the heroes of the Belarus team in Sweden.
His wife, an outstanding Belarusian athlete made it to the Belarus national team for the IFMA World Championships and was in the top 5 in the 60 kg division.
The ability of muaythai to unite people was shown again during the European Championships 2013 in Portugal two gold medal winners from Belarus, Dmitry and Mariya got married. Belarus is truly one of the powerhouses of muaythai in Europe and the Valent family is an example for everyone how sport can benefit anyone and that constant support is a key to success in and out the field of play.
“My athletic life began when I was 16” says Dmitry who was one of the kids from underprivileged youths with idle time on his hands that could be directed towards destructive behaviour and associations. But when he started training muaythai he focused on sport and stated how much muaythai could give to him. He gave all his attention to muaythai and muaythai paid him off with titles, medals and love of his life.
IFMA's social campaign Sport Is Your Gang targets the youth from challenging environments and Dmitry says that his dream now is to open up a gym in his neighbourhood, as he can see how many young boys and girls would find themselves in sport, the same way as he found himself.
Mariya’s way to muaythai began from ballet and synchronized swimming. “But I was always fascinated by the women-warriors” says Mariya, and it was in her 10th school year that she chose muaythai.
“My father supported my choice and is always present at competitions which is very important for me.”
Both Mariya and Dmitry live in a district known for its bad reputation, still Dmirty says that there is no bad communities, but rather the youth need to find a way to apply their energy. Muaythai is a perfect tool for all not only to develop kids physically but also give them a reference point in life.
Like every family, the Valents dream to have kids who will follow the examples of their parents. “There are many examples when female athletes made a break in their sports career to dedicate themselves to family but later returned to sport and competed at high level. “ says Mariya.
There are no obstacles for doing sports. Muaythai has always appealed to many other Belarusians for its accessibility and how much it builds one’s character and shapes one's personality.
We are all looking forward to see Dmitry and Mariya at the European Championships in Croatia and for Dmitry the best of luck at the World Games 2017.
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