The world governing body for Sambo, the International Sambo Federation, has once again come to the rescue of the T&T Sambo Team by providing funding for their stay at a proper hotel in Casablanca, Morocco.
The T&T team is there to compete at the Sambo World Championships which starts today and conclude on Monday, and yesterday, a release from Jason Fraser, president of the four-year-old National Sambo Federation said the team was made to stay in a four star hotel, courtesy the ISF.
The team has been strapped for cash although the Ministry of Sports provided them with tickets to take the athletes to Morocco. Sport Minister Darryl Smith, at a launch to distribute the tickets had said that government did not have the funding to send more athletes to the championships.
Fraser, who is also a member of the international federation, explained yesterday that the team did not even have money for food and proper accomodation and therefore it was due largely to his influence that the team was given cash to provide its members with food and remove them from Hotel Anfa Port, which provided conditions unsuitable for athletes preparing for a world championship tournament, at a cost of TT$147,000.
Fraser told the Guardian it was not the first time that the TT team has had to be saved by an outside organisation. The local Sambo boss said: “It is not the first time that they have come to our aid at a world championship. They did so in Belarus in 2012, when then Minister of Sports Anil Roberts disappointed the team and in 2013 in St Petersburg, Russia.”
The Russian Sambo federation, it is understood, also provided the TT team with TT$650,000 in equipment which is being kept at a storehouse in the West. The equipment was given because of the impressive performance of the TT team a few years ago.
Fraser said he was very thankful to minister Smith for providing them with the tickets, as well as Toyota T&T and First Citizens for helping the team in off-setting some of its expenses.
Keron Bourne will be the first in the four-man team to go into action today. He will first weigh in this morning as he has four pounds to lose to qualify for the 57kg category.
Two other TT fighters—Martin Joseph and rising talent Joash Walkins—will both weigh in tomorrow morning and are expected to be involved.
The Sambo boss said he was confident T&T would be able to medal at the world championship despite having to compete against over 109 countries.
He said they could be contacted at (+0626 100347) for anyone willing to provide assistance.