SEA Games 2019 Sambo men medal in all 3 individual events
06 December 2019
By Angelina Dass
Singapore’s Sambo athletes began their SEA Games journey on a positive note with three medals on the opening day of competition (5 Dec) for the niche sport at the AUF Gymnasium in Angeles, near Clark.
Nazri is overjoyed when he is declared the winner of the match. (Photo: SNOC)
With its origins in the Soviet Union, sambo is one of the nine niche sports making its debut at the 30th Southeast Asian Games. Fighters will compete in two categories – sport and combat.
The toast of Team Singapore was Muhammad Nazri Bin Sutari after he beat Indonesia’s Jason Sim 10-2 to clinch the gold medal in the men’s under 82kg combat sambo event.
Ashvin in action against MMA Star Striegl Mark Edward. (Photo: SNOC)
Overjoyed and in disbelief, the 29-year-old said he had not been expecting the gold coming into the Games. The national kickboxing coach said his main aim was to “prove to the world that Singapore sambo athletes are tough” and “can actually fight”.
He told media that having had competed in many different sports – from fencing to kickboxing to mixed martial arts (MMA) to sambo - he is still surprised to have won a SEA Games medal, and a gold medal at that.
Asked about his winning strategy, Nazri said: “My opponent actually managed to neutralise my takedowns a lot of times so I know I had to switch it up. So, instead of going for my usual double leg takedown, I switched to a single leg takedown which helped me scored my final win”.
Ashvin Singh s/o Jaswant Singh and Gary Chow both fell to Filipino opponents in their respective finals – Ashvin in the combat under-74kg and Gary in the sport under-82kg events. Ashvin found MMA star Mark Edward Striegl too hot to handle in losing 8-0. One of One Championship’s rising stars, Striegl holds a professional MMA fight record of 18 wins and 2 losses.
Ashvin, 28, felt he could have done better and was perhaps hard done by the point system.
“To be honest with you, I’m disappointed with the silver,” said Ashvin. “I was trying to finish him the whole time from everywhere. But he was content with just stalling for points. The points system beat me not him.”
As for Gary, 29, it was a moment of serendipity as Chino Sy was someone he met in his previous judo days. A former judoka, Gary is a three-time SEA Games medallist in the under-81kg category (2013, 2015 and 2017) who returned to the podium this time as a sambo fighter, having made the switch for this Games.
Commenting on his 4-1 loss to Sy, Gary said: “He is a tough opponent to go up against because he is tall and has the reach to take a grip first. He has also been training in sambo for a long time and I was wary of his leg grabs.”
Gary battling his opponent SY Chino. (Photo: SNOC)
“It was hard to find openings for my attacks because of his long arms and low stance. I tried to do many things to create the opening but my opponent was prepared.”
Gary added that penalties against him eventually cost him the match.
The 1.75m tall athlete took the opportunity to thank his supporters at home and in Clark, and his coaches and the Wrestling Federation of Singapore for promoting the sport of sambo.
“Without them, we wouldn’t be competing here today,” he said.