MOSCOW, January 23. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated on Wednesday that Russia would continue seeking the inclusion of Sambo wrestling into the program of Olympic Games.
"No doubts at all that we must continue promoting this initiative, but we must be doing it accurately and in a calm manner," Putin said.
The Russian president paid a visit on Wednesday to the Institute Asian and African Studies of the Moscow State University (MSU) in the Russian capital. Before meeting with members of the institute’s supervisory board Putin spoke with students.
One of the students meeting with Putin today was Sambo reigning World Champion Kamil Abdulazizov and he asked the president about the perspectives for the wrestling to enter the Olympic program.
"This is not an easy issue, but we are working on it," Putin said adding "it is not easy because among other things we [Russia] have almost no competitors here [in Sambo]."
According to the president, Sambo needs "to be developed further and popularized so that outstanding wrestlers would emerge in other countries, which in turn would express interest in taking part in the tournaments. This is when they will start supporting the bid to include Sambo in the Olympic program."
Putin said that Sambo "is a national sport" in Russia, which "was generated of different martial arts of peoples of the USSR."
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 most recent statistics, provided by the All-Russia Sambo Federation, over 500,000 Russians are practicing Sambo and this figure includes over 230,000 children.
In 2016, President Putin said speaking about the Sambo wrestling 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.