2021 PANAMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
USA Sambo sent a team from across the United States, to the 2021 Pan American Sambo Championship, held in Villavicensio, Colombia. The team competed in men's sport Sambo, combat Sambo, beach Sambo, team beach Sambo, and international coaches seminar.
USA Sambo Secretary General Roman Zinder did extensive logistical work to enable the team to compete. USA Sambo Vice President Mikhail Kozitskiy was the team's director, as well as one of the FIAS technical committee members conducting the international coaches seminar along with FIAS' Dmitry Maximov. George Helmrich was the team's doctor. The National Team coach was Bob Clark, with assistant coach Ilkhom Aminov. This was coach Bob Clark's 5th time as the Pan American National Team coach. The USA Sambo Team has been very successful at the Pan American Championships of past, winning numerous team cups in men's sport, women's sport, and combat Sambo. Coach Ilkhom Aminov came in to provide his outstanding knowledge and experience to the team from high level competition in his homeland Uzbekistan. His knowledge and experience was greatly appreciated and will help the USA Sambo National Team prepare for the 2021 Sambo World Championship, being held in Ilkhom's homeland of Uzbekistan.
The sport Sambo team was comprised of the following athletes; Brett Milano 64kg (bronze medal), Taylor Weber 71kg (battled very hard), Solomon Jojua 79kg (gold medal), Wojciech Szulinski 88kg (gold medal), and Ike Okoli 98+kg (gold medal). Their combined effort gave Team USA Sambo the 1st place Team Trophy for sport Sambo.
The combat Sambo team was comprised of the following athletes; Zac Haynes 64kg (gold medal), Jordan Juliano 79kg (silver medal), Wojciech Szulinski 88kg (silver medal, his 2nd medal of the Championship), and Ike Okoli 98+kg (gold medal, his 2nd medal of the Championship). Their combined efforts gave Team USA Sambo the 2nd place Team Trophy for combat Sambo. Team USA barely missed a 2nd 1st place team trophy, while only having a partial roster.
Wojciech Szulinski, and Taylor Weber competed individually in beach Sambo. Taylor battled very hard coming up a little short, while Wojciech Szulinski took his 3rd medal for the Championship (silver medal).
Zac Haynes giving up 10 or more kilograms to all of his opponents and Wojciech Szulinski competed in the Team beach Sambo event. The teams are comprised of 2 male and 2 female athletes. Since Team USA only had 2 males, they started with 2 losses whenever competing against a full team. They won their 1st match versus Guatemala. Their 2nd match was against a full team from Costa Rica (eventual 1st place). Zac and Wojciech won their matches, which led to a tie. The tie breaker was Zac versus a much larger opponent (whom, he had previously defeated). Zac unfortunately lost a very hard battle. This led to a battle with Team Costa Mexico for bronze. Zac and Wojciech won their matches. Since Costa Rica had a full team, it was again a tie. The tie breaker again was Zac versus a much larger opponent, whom he had just beaten. He unfortunately lost a very hard fought battle, giving the team 5th place. Zac and Wojciech's efforts won over all in attendance, including the FIAS representatives.
The international coaches seminar was conducted by FIAS' Dmitry Maximov and USA Sambo's Mikhail Kozitskiy (also FIAS technical committee). USA Sambo's National Team coach Bob Clark, assistant coach Ilkhom Aminov, and triple medal winning athlete Wojciech Szulinski all attended. The course and testing was excellent, but very tough. The attendees also received an anti doping seminar.
USA Sambo would like to thank FIAS, the Colombian National Sambo Federation and all of the teams from the Pan American region for an outstanding event, with high level competition and camaraderie.