The year ended with the sad death of Lyn Costa wife of Secretary Keith Costa, Lyn was often seen in her electric buggy and before her MS got really bad she would be one of our table officials our thoughts go out to Keith and the rest of the family.
The New Year started with an invite to a formation of a Commonwealth Sambo Association, this was the concept of Lord Reading and Andrew Moshanov. The idea in principle is a good one but its formation is totally wrong; I have reported on this on several occasions but just to say at the meeting not one representative from the Commonwealth was an official member of FIAS; 90% were Judoka, Andrew Moshanov is a Russian living in England and Lord Reading has never been seen at a Sombo event. So a very strange meeting especially as they formulated a committee etc.
On contacting FIAS they had no knowledge of this organisation or Andrew Moshanov. It seems Andrew, I believe, is an employee of the FIAS President and a very experienced Judo Coach who used to work for the BJA. As this organisation was formed the BSF decide to organise a Commonwealth Sombo Championships to be held in September in Scotland; this was a complete failure, so much so, we cancelled the event as the only entries we had were from the UK so it does put in doubt the viability of a Commonwealth Sombo organisation without funding from FIAS or Lord Reading.
A couple of good things that came out of this meeting were that I met with Alan Jones, the Welsh National Wrestling Coach and 7th Dan Judo, who will be joining his Welsh Wrestling Association in 2013 and I met up again with Terry Watt from Ulster; he made CSA Secretary but has since resigned. The CSA has had no meetings, competitions etc. since to my knowledge we have not been approached to affiliate. I hope some sort of Commonwealth body is formed but it must be done under the auspices of FIAS
I attended three major Internationals: the European Championships held in Moscow, a marvellous tournament; the World Masters in Casablanca, well organised but dominated by the Eastern European Block, we had just two fighters and finally, in November, the Worlds held in Minsk, again a marvellous event with some excellent matches. My only complaints were: the organisation of the registration, these are always pandemonium and I have written to FIAS and made some suggestions; and the events used to have a degree of socialising but this seems to be neglected.
FIAS and ESF, for the first time, paid for our accommodation, this was much appreciated and allowed us to bring two good teams to the event. The highlight of the these events was Matthew Clempner Junior winning a World Bronze in the O100k class, the first World Championship medal since 1990 a great finish to the year. Reports on all these can be seen on a web site and have been published in various Martial Arts Magazine and Web sites.
The BSF have been successful in running courses and competitions throughout the year but we had a couple of disappointments: the Commonwealth competition had to be cancelled and this date was taken over by Red Star Sambo, even this only attracted 30 people and a tournament organised by Bedford Grappling Academy was also cancelled due to a lack of entries, it seems the recession is taking its toll especially with the cost of fuel.
The last two British Opens were held in Scotland but it was felt that it was time to move back to England but not too Sittingbourne, where it had been for over a decade as this was too far for people to travel, so next year’s British Open will be in Bedford on 2nd Sunday in June, an easier venue for people including flights into Luton.
BSF HQ will no longer be supplying Sombo equipment; this has been handed out to Russell Dodds who has made major inroads in getting different supplies from around the World. I think one of the best things the BSF has done in recent years is to insist on correct kit at our events. The BSF looks forward to 2013 but we cannot exist without the support of our members so we do need the various associations affiliated to push for participation.
For more information on Sambo visit: http://www.britishsombo.co.uk/ Contact Martin Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org