MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. The 2017 World Sambo Championship, which is scheduled to begin next week in the Russian resort city of Sochi, will see a record number of participating countries, Vasily Shestakov, the president of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS), told TASS on Wednesday.
According to the FIAS president, among the new countries joining the global competition in the annual Sambo Championship, which was held for the first time in Iran’s Tehran in 1973, are China, Egypt, Saint Lucia, Bangladesh and others.
"This year’s tournament will be joined by six new countries, which lined up seven athletes, and the championship will see 600 Sambo wrestlers from 93 countries," Shestakov said in an interview with TASS.
"I am sure that it will be a great sports holiday, which will bring us numerous sensations," he said. "Athletes from the Republic of Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Hong Kong and Taiwan performed remarkably at continental tournaments having displayed strong will and the spirit of victory."
"It will be definitely not easy for the reigning champions defending their titles in Sochi," FIAS President Shestakov added.
The 2017 World Sambo Championship will be held between November 9 and 13 at the Iceberg Arena, which was constructed in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi for hosting the 2014 Olympic Games.
Russia hosted the championship last time in 2013 in Saint Petersburg and the previous 2016 World Sambo Championship was hosted by Bulgaria’s Sofia.
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."
According to statistics from the All-Russia Sambo Federation provided almost a year ago, a total of some 500,000 Russians had been practicing Sambo and the figure included about 230,000 children.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated last year speaking about Sambo and its global perspectives, that the Russia-originated wrestling should be included in the Olympic program, but it would require a lengthy and labor-consuming period.