T&T's participation at this year's Sambo World Championships in Bucharest, Romania from tomorrow (November 8-12) will be due mainly to the support of Russia through the International Sambo Federation.
Jason Fraser, the T&T Sambo Federation president, in a release yesterday said that "The team would like to extend its sincerest thanks to the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) for once again securing three tickets through the Russian government to ensure our attendance."
Russia's intervention is actually the sixth time in the past two years alone, that local sambo fighters have had to depend on outside sources to compete in the event, which ironically, will comprise the Russian national team.
Earlier in July, the Russians provided assistance to ensure T&T's participation at the Pan American Games in Acapulco, Mexico where Gershom Griffith and Keron Bourne claimed bronze medals. And later at the President's Cup in Northern Ireland. In September this year, the Russians again provided tickets for Bourne, an internationally recognized fighter in his class, and Martin Joseph, whose presence at four out of five President's Cup tournaments, was due to his standout performances. At that tournament, he won silver medals
Russia, through the international sambo federation, also provided assistance for last year's Pan Am participation in Colombia, the Presidents Cup in London England 2017 where TT won gold and silver medals, and also for the World Championships in Sochi Russia. According to Fraser, "One of the main reasons for their support is the success rate of the local athletes in the past. For the past six years, T&T has won 94 medals overall. Today, I feel as though the National Sambo team is a Russian Sambo team, as we have been supported and funded more by their federation than our own government to compete at these international competitions."
He said, "We are however thankful to the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs for the support we have
received in the past in assisting our athletes to get time off from their jobs in order to represent our country. We also wish to thank the Ministry for the support rendered in April 2018 when we were able to host a very successful Caribbean Invitational Open Championships for 25 countries, for the first time. Over 100 athletes came to T&T for that event."
T&T's sambo team which comprises of Joseph, Bourne and Kelvin Guy, was expected to travel yesterday, despite the Divali celebrations that mark - "The Festival of Lights."