Pictured above: CAPMMA Director Luis Barneto The Portuguese MMA Athletic Commission (CAPMMA) recently completed tryouts for the National Amateur MMA Team, who will progress to compete at international IMMAF competitions throughout 2017. In contrast to previous tryouts where selection was based on a competition results, CAPMMA adjusted the format to a nationwide open practice day at the at the Olympic Wrestling training facility – National Sport Center of Jamor. Athletes who attended were evaluated on physical conditioning, technical maturity and combat experience. CAPMMA Director and national coach, Luis Barneto, expressed promising results following the evaluation day and is optimistic of seeing the largest CAPMMA squad to date travel to the 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. While IMMAF competitions are open only to competitors aged 18+, CAPMMA took the opportunity to also assess the continuation of grass roots development from the age of 16 upwards. “With this format we had 20 athletes from 8 different teams across the country and some very good indications for the future,” Barneto stated. “The tryout was also open to participants aged 16 upwards, so we can evaluate and get them started for future callings. “We can already confirm 4 Portuguese athletes going to the European Open, but we hope to go up to 8 or 9.” Participating clubs included: RS Team, Academia Unlimited, 100% Muay Thai, Coimbra MMA, Team Tora, 2810 MMA, e Champions Forever and Team Paulo Aguiar. The tryout session incorporated coaches from each of the attending clubs, in conjunction with the CAPMMA Director. Two of Portugal’s leading professional standouts were also on hand including KSW veteran Helson Henriques and Rafael Silva, a veteran with 40 pro victories. “We had the coaches of the different teams working together with myself, the national team coach, assisting on all works. This also included two of the most relevant professional athletes in Portugal, Rafael Silva and Helson Henriques. The practice was hosted by myself, assisted by National Grappling Team coach Rui Silva, plus Renato Costa, and Ricardo Godinho. Coaches from regional clubs Rounds Academy and Reborn Fight Team were also present, giving their support to the session. Barneto added: “We are discussing plans to have a National Open in the beginning of February, so we can give a chance to some other athletes that couldn’t make it to this opportunity, and to give the current team a chance of competing once again before the Europeans.” The 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 29 March to 2 April.