Above: bronze medalist Siddiq Bin Mahmood (far left) battled his way to the 2016 Africa Open podium By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran The nation’s budding MMA talent will be feeling inspired as August 15 marks Independence Day for India. With a widespread network of grass roots development, the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) will trial an all new team at the 2017 IMMAF Africa Open Championships, granting run outs to a trio of fresh faced athletes and a new coaching duo set for action in Johannesburg from August 28 – September 2. The debut trio of Musa Raish (flyweight), Vikram Mysore Nagaraj (featherweight) and Suhaib Logde (light-heavyweight) compete as part of AIMMAA’s progression initiative for both athletes and coaches with contenders spread across three national squads: A,B and C. As each hopeful develops through their hard work, performances and competition experience, the opportunity for advancement becomes greater with the national A-team being set to represent India at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships in November. The 2017 Africa Open team will be under the stewardship of coaching duo Dhruv Chaudhary and Vikas Singh, each with years of professional experience and a dozen bouts to their name competing under the banner of India’s premier organization, Super Fight League. At the 2016 Africa Open team India secured three bronze medals through Mohammed Tafeez Ahmed Mohammed (bantamweight) and Bhoopendra Kumar (welterweight), plus flyweight contender Siddiq Bin Mahmood who produced one of the nations most encouraging performances as he went the distance in a thrilling effort with Sweden’s Sebastian Gonzalez who edged a split-decision for the world’s number-1 ranked national team. For further details and team updates ahead of the 2017 Africa Open Championships visit MyNextMatch.com.