One of the fastest rising grapplers in the region, Dwayne Hinds, will captain T&T’s sambo team which leaves today to compete in its first ever sambo tournament, the Pan American Sambo Championship, in Cali, Colombia. Set to begin on Thursday, the five-man contingent, selected by the T&T Combat Sports Association (T&TCA) will begin their first appearance at a sambo championship, just months after being introduced under the umbrella of recognised sports at the association. The event will conclude on Sunday. Rondel Benjamin will coach the debutant team, which includes Hinds (84kg), Martin Joseph (72kg), Joash Walkins (72kg), Keron Bourne (63kg) and Terron Diaz (78kg). Diaz is set to make his first national appearance in any discipline under the umbrella of the TTCSA, which controls the national team set-up for disciplines including judo and mixed martial arts. The weigh-ins will take place on, Thursday, the opening day, which is when the scheduled will be released.
All of T&T’s representatives have been training consistently at the Rough House, St James, sometimes three times a day, in order to facilitate sambo strongly into their styles of combat. Despite his lack of experience in international competition, president of the TTCSA Jason Fraser said he has no doubt that Diaz will perform well, along with the four other T&T athletes, who have represented the country in different arts around the world. Fraser has indicated before leaving for Colombia that not only is he optimistic of his team’s showing, but so is the head of development for the Federation International Amateur de Sambo (FIAS) (the world governing body for Sambo), Dr Andrew Moshanov, who held a sambo workshop in T&T earlier this year.
“Moshanov has said that he’s excited to witness the team in action. He’s seen the team in training during his visit and he believes that we are capable performing as well as any team on the world stage,” said Fraser. Speaking on the team’s preparation and fitness, Fraser said that he is “more than satisfied” as the team leaves today. “They have all peaked in fitness at the ideal time... Most train at least three times per day, so I’m confident that they are fully fit to perform at their best.” Sambo is a Russian martial art developed by its military, which has many similarities to judo, consisting of throws, pins, locks and other submissive maneuvres, but is almost entirely without striking.