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Good luck to Team GB member Will Mackay

We would like to wish VHL employee Will Mackay all the best as he prepares to represent Team GB by competing in the Baltic Muaythai Open 2020 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

For what is now the sixth year in a row, the IFMA and European Muaythai Federation (EMF) return to Lithuania for the event, which runs from Friday 31 January – Sunday 02 February at LITEXPO.

Everyone is behind you Will. Good luck!

What Muaythai has done for me:

I started my Muaythai journey seven years ago at my local gym – Thaitans Martial Arts Academy in my home town of Redditch, Worcestershire.

I walk through the double doors into a gym that is like no other and I am instantly hooked. The unusual smell of the liniment tingled my nose, a smell that has been a part of me and stains 90% of my clothing. The sound of shins hammering the bag and the Muaythai grunts being roared.

I was sceptical at first since I topped the Scales at 160 kilograms and had a horrid time growing up being bullied about my weight at school, college and other conventional gyms. The looks from people use to make me ashamed of who I WAS. I was also unemployed with no passion and drive bouncing from job to job struggling to find who I was as a person.

On that fateful Thursday morning class I was welcomed by my coach, instructor and someone who I class as one of my closet friends and now part of my family, Kevin Dorman. He explained about Muaythai and the benefits that it would bring to my life. I took off my trainers and socks and slowly made my way onto the mats to begin the warm up. I lasted three minutes into the warm up before the sweat was pouring off me. I was told to take my time and do as much as I can do but wasn’t made to feel ashamed about myself but rather encouraged I was taking a positive step to changing my life for the better.

Once the warm up was completed we grabbed the pads and Kev then showed us the basic combo for the class which I still remember to this day: Jab, cross, hook followed by a rear kick. I put on the gloves and took a deep breath as I was shown the basics of throwing the punches and kicks, bearing in mind I’d never done any previous martial arts experience before. Again I lasted four minutes before I had to stop but my partner and coach advised to do as much as I can do.

One hour later when the class had finished I was soaking through with sweat but had never felt more alive or proud of myself. Kev then pulled me aside to state all the classes he had to offer but I already knew I was hooked since I have a love for competition coming from previous success as a footballer and golfer. I knew that I was destined to compete in this sport and become the very best.

Fast forward seven years and eight fights later with a record of four wins, one draw and three losses, I’m currently walking around in the best shape of my life. I’m fitter, stronger and have found who I am as a person. I’m not ashamed of myself in the mirror and wear all my tiger stripes with pride.

I managed to obtain and maintain full time employment in a job that I love, but the icing on the cake is that I walk around at 93 kilos making a total loss during my Muaythai journey. A massive 62 kilos (10 stone) lost!

I’m now flying out with Team GB to compete in the Baltic open in Lithuania next week in the under 91 category and have a strong possibility to bring back a gold medal which would leap frog my career as a Thai boxer.