Cameroon’s “Indomitable Lions” made history for their country last month as amateur athletes competed at the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships.
The accomplishments flooded in as the nation was represented for the first time by competitors on the international IMMAF platform. Team Cameroon was selected by national body and IMMAF member, the National League of MMA Cameroon (NLMMAC).
A representative of the Cameroonian government (pictured above, centre, alongside Cameroon’s athletes and coaches) was dispatched to join the national team at the Africa Open Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he also met with IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown. Guy Bertrand Olomo, Chairman on the NLMMAC, revealed that the sport of MMA is under consideration by Cameroon’s Ministry of Sport for much needed funding grants, in order to further sport development and maintain international participation at IMMAF championships.
“Mr. Byem Assandje Théodore (representative of the Minister of Sport) was with the Cameroon National team,” the NLMMAC Chairman explained. “Today in Cameroon, the sport of MMA is taken very seriously thanks to the provision of athletes to the 2018 Africa Open.
“This year MMA has been placed into consideration among disciplines to receive grants courtesy of the state of Cameroon. Believe me; the state of Cameroon is now behind MMA, thanks to the performance made in South Africa.”
Welterweight competitor John Bilikha kicked things off for Cameroon at the Africa Open, making history as the first athlete to represent the national on the international IMMAF platform. Bilikha went the distance with Bahraini standout Abbas Khan, but came up short in a closely contested split decision against the man who went on to win the division’s gold medal.
Despite facing defeat in their opening contest, the newcomers had sent a message to all nations as legitimate contenders. An optimistic tone had been set and the honour of Cameroon’s first victory under IMMAF fell to Lightweight challenger Endom Bikim-Steve Durant who bested Terence Nagamootoo of Mauritius via a Unanimous Decision.
Cameroon’s first ever IMMAF medals were achieved as the Central African nation secured gold medals in the Women’s Featherweight and Men’s Heavyweight divisions, as Zoua Alvine Willy and Rengou Mefire Simplice each picked up Unanimous Decision triumphs. Fellow heavyweight finalist Siaka Hermann Thierry collected the silver medal, as did the aforementioned Endom Durant, plus Youtseu Kenman-Tchueng Lynda (Women’s Flyweight), Mambou Dorine Stephane (Women’s Bantamweight) and Kenfack Nadia (Women’s Featherweight). A bronze medal was picked up by men’s Bantamweight Dzunnya Yannick Ronyx.
The NLMMAC Chairman added: “A reception and ceremony will be organized for the Indomitable Lions team and we look forward to welcoming the Minister of Sport.”