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‘Judo king’: I am going to win
T&T’s relentless sambo competitor Keron Bourne, labelled the ‘judo king’ by members of the mixed martial arts community, will arrive in Sochi, Russia with a point to prove at this year’s World Sambo Championship which kicks-off today and will continue until Sunday.
Coming off of an outstanding performance at the President’s Cup Combat Sambo Grand Slam in the U.K in September, where he won a gold medal in the 62kg weight division, the fierce contender from Central, Trinidad emphatically announced that he would medal at the world championship if he was given the right requirements to do so.
Bourne, who finished fifth in the tournament last year, has experienced a substantial progression in the sport this year.
Guardian Media Sports spoke with Bourne about his remarkable season and his lofty ambitions for the start of today’s world championship and beyond.
Question: On the back of your gold-medal winning performance at the President’s Cup held in the U.K, you stated, “given the right requirements I will medal at the world sambo championship”, do you hold true to that statement?
Answer: “Yes, I’m holding true to that statement. With the right requirements, a medal will be possible, but if things don’t go the way I want, it will be a harder fight.
So far everything is going 100%, and the Ministry of Sport and the sports Minister’s support was excellent thus far, and especially the hard work of Jason Fraser, our president of the sambo federation.
And everybody who supports me on the whole, my friends who train with me from two in the morning, and my work for giving me time off to train. These are all great assets to me medalling this year in the world championship.”
Q: How is training for the momentous occasion coming along? Are you at your peak competition performance?
A: “Everything is going good, I would say I am at 80% of where I want to be at right now, and when I make the weight I will be at 100%.”
Q: What personal goals have you set for the tournament?
A: “The first goal is to win my first fight, that’s the number one priority, because if you don’t win your first fight you are not sure to fight again.
No matter what country comes before me, they are going down. Then going straight on to winning out this whole tournament, I am prophesying that I am going to win it out.
I am going to be the first Caribbean and I think Latin American athlete to win a gold medal at a world championship in sambo. And with the support of everybody behind me, especially my country, I am truly grateful and I am going to win!”
Q: What personal goals have you set for yourself beyond the tournament?
A: “In the future I am looking at, at least becoming a three-time world champion in sambo and going on to bigger stuff in mixed martial arts (MMA), and maybe holding a world title in MMA.
Combat sambo is actually 100% like MMA; it actually prepares you for that.
I have a good upper hand with a sambo background and being able to get recognized on the world stage would be a great asset to giving promoters a reason to want me on their fight card.”