Lagos Judo boss points route to Sambo’s Dev

Lagos State Judo Association (LSJA) Chairman, Sheriff Hammed, believes that Sambo will soon become the fastest growing sport in the country given how dedicated its practitioners are in driving its development.

Although Sambo is a combat sport which is not yet as popular as others in its category, it is a sport which holds great potential for Nigerians of different age groups given the efforts and resources being channelled towards its development.

As LSJA chairman, Hammed has turned judo into the number one martial art sport in the state such that the International Association of Combative Sports (IACS), the only body of combative sports and martial arts education in the world, decided to choose him as its Joint Secretary (Africa).

The Lagos judo boss will lead Nigeria’s team to the 13th African Games in Ghana next month and towards a successful outing, he has chosen to popularise Sambo across the nation.

Speaking on his motivation for choosing to grow Sambo, Hammed said: “Our plan is to provide an experience that offers a plethora of benefits to the sports industry in Nigeria and participants

From creating a case for improved facilities to improving mental and overall wellbeing, to providing opportunities for recreation and youth engagement, enhancing the education experience of students, brand engagement and more.

“We want to influence the whole sports value chain in the country by showcasing Sambo as a platform for sport development.” He acknowledges the challenges that may hamper the attainment of his goals, saying,

“There is often the misconception that sports is mostly about attending competitions, both locally and abroad, but sports goes beyond this. Every step of development – talent engagement, discovery, development, management and transition – provides a unique opportunity, when considered holistically, to even go beyond developing ‘sports’ as we know it.

“Concerning facilities, for instance, there are current facilities that are underutilised. This is due to no particular fault of anyone but international global practices now show us that a sports facility can be multi-purpose and adaptive. 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. This is only possible because of the dynamic nature of Sambo, which is very adaptive. Let’s not forget that Sambo is a multidimensional martial art, combining gymnastics, wrestling, boxing, and judo/jiu jitsu. So, with the development of Sambo, we are positive this will also influence the development of the sports mentioned above.” Hammed said that with the growing demand for fitness and recreation, his body is offering Sambo as a step into fitness and recreation.

“Sambo improves the fitness of participants. Offering it as a means to achieve fitness and recreation, puts Sambo in a positive light for participants to get involved in sports. It could become a conduit for people to discover their talents for Sambo and other sports, depending on the capacity of the participants.”

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