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Fraser appeals for Sambo $$$
With just over a month to go before the staging of the first Caribbean International Invitational Open Combat Sports Championship April 28 and 29 at the National Cycling Centre (NCC) in Couva, organizers are still appealing to corporate T&T for financial assistance.
Jason Fraser, president of the T&T Sambo Federation said this new development has created a major concern with the historic event set, not only to welcome the best MMA and Sambo fighters, but also to host over 250 athletes, supporters, media and other officials which is expected to generate revenue for the country through sports tourism.
He said if the show does not go on as planned, it will rob many T&T and regional athletes of the opportunity to compete against the best in the world. "It will also be a huge embarrassment," Fraser said.
The T&T sambo boss is yet to receive a response from corporate T&T for well over 200 proposals sent out over the past two months, which has cost over $20,000 already. Organizers of the event are in pursuit of close to $2 million to host over 27 countries including Australia, Brazil, England, Malaysia, United States, Russia, Colombia, Mexico, Holland, Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao, Antigua and Grenada, among others.
Competition will take place in the areas of grappling, sports sambo (self-defence without weapons), combat sambo, kick boxing, wrestling and boxing, and will be streamed live to over 97 countries on five continents. Fraser believes if T&T is serious about diversifying the country through sports tourism, then an ideal opportunity has presented itself through this event.
"All stands to benefit from this event. The hotels, the taxis, small businesses such as nuts men and bake and shark stalls etc, will all be able to make a living. We talk so much about diversification but we are reluctant to grasp at it when the opportunities appear" Fraser said.
He is advising corporate citizens to utilize the opportunity of receiving 150 percent tax break from government with the sponsorship of any sporting event. "Companies do not necessarily have to give solid cash, but they can help with marketing and advertising, hotel accommodation, transportation and meals among other things.
Corporate citizens will have the opportunity to market their product to a local, regional and international market if they join with organizers to put on the event. Fraser said apart from the event being streamed live, they have also signed an agreement with popular sports network channels ABS, CBS and the Caribbean Media Corporation.
The opening day of the tournament will feature preliminary round action in the various categories that will be followed by an opening ceremony later that night. This will be followed by the finals later that night (April 28), which according to Fraser, may go well into the early morning to ensure that all is completed.
In addition to the high quality competition expected, there will be attendances from Herb Dean, an American mixed martial arts referee and former fighter who has had well over 5000 fights in his career, and many other international dignitaries in the sport.
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