Colombian Sambists Gather to Win for Peace

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The 8th Colombian SAMBO Championship and the 1st “Colombia for Peace” International Sport and Combat SAMBO Tournament will be held from March 18 to 20 in Cali, Colombia. The motto of the tournament is “Win for Peace!”.

“We came up with the idea of holding an international ‘Colombia for Peace’ tournament because we work a lot with poor athletes who live in war zones. Many of them are angry when they come to us, and show a very high level of aggression, but then after SAMBO training, they become calmer and become good people,” says Omar Lopera, President of the Colombian SAMBO Federation.

The “Colombia for Peace” tournament is being organized by the Colombian SAMBO Federation, with the support of the Institute of Sport, Physical Education and Tourism of Valle del Cauca Department (INDERVALLE) and the Governor’s Office of Valle del Cauca Department. The competitions will be held at the National Sport School, the country’s most famous sports university, at the modern sports arena Coliseo Mundialista Iván Vassilev Todorov.

“We use SAMBO to teach athletes to respect and follow the rules, which means to respect and comply with the laws in general. We actually train real citizens, who will represent our country; we train the people our country needs,” Lopera adds.

Athletes from Venezuela and Ecuador have already confirmed their participation in the tournament. Lopera says that Colombian athletes are attracted to the international status of SAMBO.

“Thanks to all the help from the International SAMBO Federation, a lot of athletes have been able to travel abroad and see other countries. This, in turn, serves as a good example for young people, who see that SAMBO offers a chance for a completely different life. We saw this at the last world championship in Riga, which very young Colombian athletes were able to attend with support from FIAS. Another example is the 2013 World SAMBO Championships in St. Petersburg,” says Lopera.

Lopera also stressed that not only athletes from poor families have an opportunity to participate in international tournaments.

“For example, at the last World Championship in Casablanca, representatives from the police and armed forces were able to compete. Once again, all of this was made possible with assistance from FIAS. And the fact that the Colombian national SAMBO team includes representatives of various segments of the population is an excellent example of the peaceful coexistence of our country’s most diverse citizens, regardless of their political views and social status,” Lopera says in conclusion.

The Colombian SAMBO Federation has sent invitations to the competition to the country’s President, the Minister of Sport, the Governor of Valle del Cauca Department, the President of the National Olympic Committee, and the Mayor of Cali.

On March 19, a forum will also be held on “Peace and the role of sports in post-conflict settlement”. The management of the Columbian SAMBO Federation expects that the mayors of various cities governors, university presidents, and of course, athletes (including Olympic medalists) will attend the event. In this way, SAMBO will make a major contribution to our country’s development and help us find the path to peace in Colombia.