Olympic delegates from around the region were in Grand Cayman last month for a series of meetings during their general assemblies.
One delegate there for a special reason was Andrew Moshanov who is head of development of the International SAMBO Federation.
SAMBO is a martial arts form with over 100 years of history. The sport is vying for Olympic status by 2020 as a demonstration sport. SAMBO is a rough acronym from the Russian language. “It is sometimes mistaken for the samba dance, which is okay because we can dance too,” Moshanov laughs.
He is based in London and coordinates with the SAMBO head office in Lausanne, Switzerland. SAMBO has membership in 80 countries and roughly two million participants. In the Caribbean, it is strongest in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Development of SAMBO in Trinidad came as part of a programme of the Commonwealth division,” says Moshanov. “It is led by Lord Reading who is willing to put all his efforts into this sport because he sees massive opportunities.
“He feels it is the most applicable sport for many reasons, including self defence, for the police, army, for children…”
Moshanov started his sporting life as a child in judo and reached all the way to sixth dan black belt before switching to SAMBO. He is a former judo coach of the Soviet Union in judo and later coach of the Russian team in SAMBO.
For the last eight years he was working as the technical director for the British Judo Federation and is now the International Development Officer for SAMBO. He now hopes that SAMBO will really take off worldwide.
On his visit to the Cayman Islands, Moshanov met Bob Daigle, the recently appointed Caribbean and Americas director of the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts.
Moshanov is aware of the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts but is more involved in the Combat Games which will be held in his Russian homeland in St Petersburg next year. The previous one was in Beijing three years ago.
Moshanov enjoyed his brief introduction to Grand Cayman and hopes to return and fully take in what the island has to offer. “I’ve been to Barbados and they say there that once you have their flying fish you will always come back.
“But I don’t know what to eat here to make me come back.” He did have turtle soup, conch fritters and jerk chicken. “In that case, I am definitely going to come back!”