Nigeria to Debut at 18th African Sambo Championships in Egypt Today

Following the impressive outing at the 13th African Games in Ghana, Nigeria has been listed among the teams that will compete at the 18th African Sambo Championships taking place in Cairo, Egypt, from June 1 to 3.

The three-man contingent is made up of the three medalists at the 13th African Games, led by gold medalist Charity Jatau as well as silver medalist Fatima Ogbonyomi, who will compete in the women’s category, while the only male competitor is African Games bronze medalist James Chegwam. The team will on Wednesday, May 29, depart Nigeria aboard Egypt Air to Cairo for the three-day continental showpiece.

The three-day tournament will take place at Cairo International Stadium; sport sambo, combat sambo, and beach sambo are events that teams will jostle for at the continental tournament.

According to the Vice President of the Sambo Association of Nigeria (SAN), Sheriff Hammed, the performances of the athletes stunned the continental body, which decided to include the team in the list of participating countries heading to Egypt.

“We are excited that sambo is gaining ground in Nigeria, and the performance of the athletes in Ghana has shown that with more support, Nigeria can rival the best sambo nations in Africa. We have decided to honour the invitation of the continental body to attend for the first time in Egypt, and we hope and believe our athletes will again show their qualities against the rest of Africa, just like they did in Ghana. I must admit that our performance in Ghana has given us hope that the sport has come to stay, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that the sport is popular across the country. We are also hopeful of a good outing in Egypt,” Hammed said.

Hammed, who is also the Joint Secretary of Africa, International Association of Combative Sports (IACS), said participating in the tournament would give more people the opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness of the sport, which is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

Aware of the infrastructural challenges facing sports in Nigeria, Hammed harped on the need to effectively utilise the existing combat sports facilities. “Some of the questions we have asked ourselves include this: Do we want to build new facilities for Sambo, or can we work with current sports facilities and work out ways to make the best use of their facilities? While the long-term goal will be to build new facilities, we think that by working with current facilities, we can create a win-win situation for such facilities to improve,” he added.

Among the top athletes expected to light-up the tournament is two-time World Combat Sambo Champion, multiple African Combat Sambo Champion, member of FIAS athletes commission Seidou Nji Mouluh of Cameroon.

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