Mixed Martial Arts contingent ready to compete at IMMAF World Championship

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By Avenash Ramzan

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Six Guyanese will be among the 529 athletes from 60 countries who will participate in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Amateur World Championships in Abu Dhabi from January 24 to 29.

It will be the first World Championship since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, marking Guyana’s first time participation at the global event.

Guyana will be represented by Corwin D’Anjou in the Men’s Welterweight (77.1kg), Webster McRae in the Middleweight (83.9kg), Ijaz Cave and Akeem Fraser in the Men’s Light Heavyweight (93kg), Christopher James in the Heavyweight (120.2kg) and John Campayne in the Super Heavyweight (no limit).

At a press conference on Tuesday at the National Racquet Centre on Woolford Avenue, Georgetown, President of the Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation Gavin Singh, executive member Dr. Sawan Jagnarain and Coach Sensei Troy Bobb spoke on the team’s preparation for the event.

WADA compliant

Dr. Jagnarain said the Guyana contingent will work diligently to ensure it is in full compliance with the regulations set out by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

“And in competing globally we must adhere to international standard and international regulations, and in so doing, we are working along with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation to ensure our team is actually following the WADA guidelines and the WADA code,” Dr. Jagnarain outlined.

He outlined his role in the entire process is to ensure athlete fulfil that mandate and adhere to the code. With this in mind, he is urging athletes to comply rigidly to the point they can make it a lifestyle.

“Because it actually creates a fair mechanism for the sport,” Dr. Jagnarain stressed.

Team Guyana! From left: Webster McRae, Christopher James, Akeem Fraser, Corwin D’Anjou and Ijaz Cave. Absent is John Campayne (Photo: Avenash Ramzan/News Room/January 18, 2022)

Official accreditation

Gavin Singh, president of the Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation, said the local governing body has placed itself in a position where Guyana is now eligible to compete at major global events.

This posture was made possible by the lull in activities that came as a direct consequences of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19.

“The Federation has spent the last two years preparing and planning. We have seized the opportunity that the pandemic presented to ensure that we would have gotten our official accreditation from the international body,” Singh highlighted.

“This in itself was a lot of hard work and dedication. What has this opportunity presented to us?

“Because of the accreditation, Guyana now has the opportunity to participate in the World Championship moving forward, and in the near future, the Olympics.”

An opportunity for growth and development

Sensei Troy Bobb in his capacity as coach, shared his expectations of the six young men who would be representing the country at the championship, noting that the anticipated good performances will help to open doors.

He opined that their success at the event will spur the development of the discipline in Guyana, something the local Federation is keen on advancing.

Meanwhile, Corwin D’Anjou, who is set to compete in the highly competitive and exciting Men’s Welterweight (77.1kg) division, said like all the other athletes, he feels proud to be given the opportunity to represent the nation at such a prestigious championship.

“We would have been involved in an 8-12 week camp where we trained every day. It was a combination of standing and ground work techniques to prepare ourselves to the best,” D’Anjou.

“I won’t go into details as to what we did in terms of preparation because the work is watching, so we will allow that to be a surprise, but just know that we’re well equipped.”

Team Guyana is being sponsored by Sandcorp Development, Acarai Properties, Eureka Labs, Zoon Online Shopping and Shipping, Northwest Security, WR Services, Banks DIH Limited, Bounty Farm, Akbar Inc., Universal Travel and Aqua Sun Designs Inc.

World Championship hosted in a fast-growing hub

Hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, with the support of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and in partnership with Palms Sports, the senior and junior nations tournaments are to take place at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City, near UFC Fight Island (Yas Island).

The event will be broadcast live globally on immaf.tv.

Kerrith Brown, president of the IMMAF said, they’re “excited to be back in the Middle East, which is a fast-growing hub for MMA with sports authorities serious about developing the grassroots and amateur levels of the sport.”

Brown noted that “based on the competitiveness and hunger shown by IMMAF athletes through 2021 and the notable maturation of talent, the 2021 IMMAF World Championships promises elite level sportsmanship in compelling match-ups not to be missed by fans.”

Guyana will be the only CARICOM nation at the event. Trinidad and Tobago, who had one athlete, had to pull out of the event due to COVID concerns.

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