of the Lagos State Judo Association Sheriff Hammed says he is determined to harness the potential of the martial art sport, Sambo, for the benefit of athletes in the country.

Sambo is an offshoot of judo, jujutsu, boxing, folk wrestling and is currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee although it is yet to be listed for demonstration at the Olympics.

Unlike other combat sports, Sambo is not known to many in the country but Hammed, who is the joint secretary (Africa) of the International Association of Combative Sports believes it will soon become the fastest-growing sport in the country with the channeling of resources towards its development.

“Our plan for Sambo is to provide an experience that offers a plethora of benefits to the sports industry in Nigeria and participants,” Hammed said.

“From creating a case for improved facilities to improving mental and overall wellbeing to providing opportunities for recreation and youth engagement, enhancing students’ education experience, brand engagement and more. We want to influence the whole sports value chain in the country by showcasing Sambo as a platform for sports development.

To enhance the popularity of Sambo, Hammed said they will soon host international tournaments.

“Our engagement plan focuses on collaborations and by this, we are looking at opportunities to create awareness for the sport in Nigeria. We have set out a strategy that focuses on offering seminars, workshops, activations, and demonstrations carried out with specific partnerships at different locations where we want to engage people. Key to our plans is to host a series of competitions, with participants from within Nigeria and Africa.”

In light of 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 by working with current facilities, we can create a win-win situation for such facilities to improve.”