Fighting for Wales at the IMMAF Junior World Championships
With the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Junior World Championships taking place in Abu Dhabi between August 17th and 20th, the Welsh Sports Association (WSA) would like to wish the young fighters representing Cymru the best of luck.
These Championships come as the Senedd’s Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee concluded that the cost of living crisis is preventing participation in sport from disadvantaged areas across the country.
While the Welsh Government remains committed to “promoting equal access to sport across the country” and the committee’s report says it has “well intentioned” commitments in this regard, there are numerous examples of the struggle to keep children in sport.
Within the report, one rugby coach is quoted as saying:
“I think we will see a huge amount of issues from the cost of living crisis. What comes first, do you eat or do you play rugby? £15 is huge for some families, kids travelling to away games – petrol costs are huge. It’s bound to have a lasting effect.”
It is therefore fantastic to see young athletes receiving the opportunity to travel halfway across the world to compete for their nation – with passport scares and all!
For many of the 16-strong team that arrived in Dubai on Monday before heading to Abu Dhabi, this will be their first time travelling outside of the UK, with some attaining their first passports in order to participate.
Chairman of the UK Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association Neil Williams said:
“We are extremely proud of the work that all the children and coaches have put in to fundraise to be able to go to the World Championships.
“With some of them never being abroad before and some complications with their first passports, it was a little touch and go if they would make it. Thank you to Chris Bryant MP for the assistance in resolving some issues!”
Neil also runs the Combat Training Centre (CTC) Treorchy, from which two young athletes, Ethan Mayhew and Kavan Evens, have been selected to travel to represent Cymru in Abu Dhabi.
These Championships will be one to remember for CTC Treorchy.
“In addition to Kavan and Ethan competing,” explained Neil, “CTC MMA coach Brad Evans will also be making the trip as one of the national team coaches. As Brad is Kavan’s dad, it makes the adventure even more special.”
Ethan and Kavan will be joined by Rory Barton-Williams, Riley Barton-Williams, Finley Climo, Torin Riddocj, Gethin Jones, Alfie Parker, Rhydian George, Tate Groves, Sakinah Jawharah Hussain, Liam Davies, Tiago Arandjelovic, Befan Hall, James Wells, and Lucia Ford in the Welsh squad.
You can follow all the action from the IMMAF Junior World Championships on IMMAF.tv.