KALININGRAD, August 18. /TASS/. Sambo wrestling should be a trademark of Russian sports just like ice hockey in Canada, baseball in the United States and judo in Japan, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Rashid Nurgaliyev said on Friday.
"We keep our work to include Sambo wrestling into the Olympic program," Nurgaliyev said during an opening of the Sambo wrestling training facility in Russia’s westernmost city of Kaliningrad. "We do understand that the final decision would depend on the foundation that we are laying for the development of this sport in our country."
The security official said that Sambo wrestling had been actively developing not only in Russia, but around the globe as well, with approximately 120 countries officially involved in this sport.
"We are holding competitions among these countries, organize training courses and this is the only sport in the world boasting available merchandise in Russian language only," he said.
Last October Nurgaliyev pledged that Russia would soon see the introduction of Sambo wrestling in the Olympic program despite high competitiveness from other sports disciplines.
Nurgaliyev, who is also the head of the Sambo development working group, maintains that the country should be supporting the introduction of this sport into Olympic program, since Sambo wrestling, which will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2018, is traditionally a Russian sport.
Speaking about Sambo and its global perspectives, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated last year that the inclusion of Sambo into the Olympic program would be require a lengthy and labor-consuming period, but the issue was in the national interests.
The 64-year-old Russian president, known for his avid support of sports development in Russia, is a black belt holder in judo and he regularly practices.
Six 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 city Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg. In 2008, he starred in the judo video "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin."
According to statistics from the All-Russia Sambo Federation provided late last year, a total of some 500,000 Russians are practicing Sambo, including about 230,000 children.
Sambo wrestling originated in Russia in the 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."