MOSCOW, March 31. /ITAR-TASS/. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is likely to consider this year Russia’s bid to introduce Sambo wrestling in the events program of Summer Games, Vasily Shestakov, the president of the International Federation of Sambo (FIAS), said on Monday.
“Our [Russia’s] bid to recognize Sambo as the Olympic sport is with the IOC and the bid constantly advances,” Shestakov, who is also a lawmaker with the Russian parliament, said.
According to the official, the IOC “is currently considering an issue of holding this year a session of the IOC executive committee on the introduction of new sports to the Olympic program.”
“I hope that if such session takes place, our bid will be considered,” the official said.
Shestakov recently headed a delegation of FIAS representatives to Kuwait, where they discussed issues of promoting Sambo to various international levels, and according to the official, a very fruitful meeting on this issue was held with Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia.
“We have discussed in detail the Olympic perspectives for Sambo, and Al-Sabah, who has long practiced various martial arts himself, promised an all-embracing support in that direction,” Shestakov said. “This is very important considering his weight and influence with the International Olympic Committee.”
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-defence without weapons.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin not only supports sports development in Russia but he 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, now called St. Petersburg. In 2008, he starred in the judo video "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin.