TOKYO, February 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Japan’s Yokohama prepares to host the all-nation Sambo wrestling championship, which is also called the Russian Presidential Cup or Putin’s Cup. The competition begins on Sunday, February 9.
In an interview with Itar-Tass, Nobuyuki Asai, a vice-president of the Japan Sambo Federation and a member of the Executive Committee of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS), said the national competition will be a qualifier for the 2014 Sambo World Championships, due in November in Japan’s Narita.
According to Asai, there are not many professional Sambo wrestlers in Japan and that is why this particular type of martial arts will be of interest for judo and freestyle wrestlers.
He also said the organizers of the championship invited a Russian delegation of Sambo experts, who would make their assessments on the performance of Japan’s Sambo wrestlers.
This will be the second annual Sambo championship in Japan with the main prize named after Russian President Vladimir Putin. The event is held within the framework of the Russian and Japan Year of Martial Arts Exchange.
Putin widely supports sports development in Russia and is particularly fond of martial arts. The 61-year-old president is a black belt holder in judo and he regularly practices. Two years ago the International Judo Federation granted him an eighth Dan for his work to promote this sport. In his youth Putin was judo champion of his home town Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In 2008, he starred in the judo video "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin."
Sambo wrestling originated in Russia in 1920s, when soldiers of the then-Soviet Army developed their own hand-to-hand combat technique. The word Sambo is a Russian acronym, which stands for “self-defense without weapons”.