By Caoilte de Barra
The Guyana Mixed Martial Arts Federation (GYMMAF) will return to IMMAF competition for a second consecutive time at the 2022 Pan American Championships. This time they have doubled the number of members, going from two to four since their Championships debut in January.
The federation received its conditional affiliation to the IMMAF in 2021, pending approval of vote at their AGM, which passed in January at a meeting held in Abu Dhabi.
MMA in Guyana is currently on the rise through the hard work of the federation and the growing popularity of Carlston Harris, the first Guyanese athlete signed to the UFC. Harris was told that he was what inspired the setting up of the federation and is very supportive of the work they do.
The team of four that will represent Guyana at the 2022 Pan American Championships are:
Shenese Bobb will become the first woman to represent Guyana at an IMMAF competition, while Ijaz Cave will be the first Guyana athlete to compete at consecutive IMMAF events. Since the women’s lightweight division has only three entries, Bobb will have but two other athletes standing in her way of glory.
Cave, on the other hand, faces a much more stacked division at welterweight, where he hopes to bounce back from his loss to eventual silver medalist Robin Enontekio at the World Championships.
Both Carl Ramsay and Trevlon Clarke will be making their respective MMA debuts in Monterrey. Clarke is a member of the Guyana Police Force and has previously competed in other martial arts. He competed at a Kempo Karate Open held in Barbados in 2018 and won three medals. As for Ramsay, he will enter a five-man heavyweight division against some tough opposition in search of gold.
Ahead of the competition, GYMMAF President Gavin Singh sat down with Stabroek News and gave his expectations for the Guyana team.
“The GYMMAF is a work in progress, and all efforts are made to empower the growth of the sport within Guyana, hence we will expect our athletes to learn and give their best in this tournament.”
He added how the federation prepared athletes for competition.
“The preparation of athletes is a process that entails individual selection, training mechanisms, coaching apparatuses, and medical and anti-doping training. They all have their requisite bodies that are working to grow the sport.”
The growing participation of athletes from Guyana is a testament to the work being done by the federation locally to promote and develop the sport. After failing to secure a win in Abu Dhabi, the boost in numbers may see Guyana secure their first medal at the 2022 Pan American Championships.