The Congress of the International SAMBO Federation (FIAS) took place on November 7 in Cheongju, South Korea. Staged at the Grand Plaza Hotel, the event was attended by representatives of 76 countries.
The informal part of the Congress was opened by Dr Hak Lee, Chair of the Board of Directors of Yong In University, South Korea. He announced the granting of the title of the Honorary Doctor of the University to the FIAS President Vasily Shestakov, for his significant contribution to the development and popularization of sports around the globe.
’Now you have become a graduate of our University,’ declared Dr Hak Lee.
In response, the FIAS head thanked the leadership of the Korean University for their honorary award and high appreciation of the International SAMBO Federation’s efforts.
During the formal part of the Congress, the issue of integrating a number of national federations of Asia and Africa into FIAS was put on the agenda. Following on from the vote, the delegates favored granting the status of full FIAS members to the national SAMBO federations of Bahrain, Bangladesh, Macau, Hong Kong, Côte d’Ivoire, Angola, and Mali. The FIAS candidate member status was granted to federations of Australia and Egypt.
Next, a report was made by the President of FIAS Vasily B. Shestakov. In his address, he briefed those present on the staple events that have taken place in the organization’s life over the past year, especially noting the recognition of FIAS by the International Olympic Committee.
’Perhaps the most significant event that has taken place since the last year’s Congress was the provisional recognition of the International SAMBO Federation by the International Olympic Committee. This happened on November 30, 2018, during a meeting of the IOC Executive Committee in Tokyo, Japan. The provisional recognition for a 3-year period reflects the fact that FIAS shares the values of the Olympic Charter,’ remarked the FIAS leader. ’It is especially gratifying that this historic event coincided with the 80th Anniversary of SAMBO, two weeks following the birthday of our favorite sport.’
The FIAS head noted that the IOC provisional recognition was a huge step forward not only for FIAS itself but for the entire SAMBO community.
’Today, we made a big, and perhaps, the most difficult step forward. But there is still a lot of work to be done. The next step is to obtain permanent IOC recognition, and then strive for the inclusion of SAMBO into the Olympic Games program,’ emphasized Shestakov. ’The principal advantage of the IOC recognition is the change in the attitude to SAMBO of national Olympic committees which to date are starting eagerly finance this sport in their countries. We should intensify our work with the national Olympic committees and the ministries of sports of our countries.’
Then the FIAS President informed the Congress participants on the FIAS participation in international multisport competitions.
’Among the most important events of this sports year, I would like to mention the performance of our athletes at the II European Games that took place in June in Minsk, Republic of Belarus,’ noted Shestakov. ’The good news was the inclusion of SAMBO in the program of the 2023 Summer Student Games (Universiade-2023) that will be held in Yekaterinburg. Also, the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan, will host the 2021 World Combat Games, and SAMBO is to become one of the 15 sports featured in the program of these multisport competitions. This December, SAMBO will also debut in the official program of the XXX Games of Southeast Asia in Manila, Philippines, which are held under the auspices of the Olympic Council of Asia.’
In particular, the FIAS President touched on the past continental SAMBO Championships, namely European Championships in Gijon, Spain, Championships of Asia in New Delhi, India, African Championships in Casablanca, Morocco, and Pan-American Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He noted that many tournaments were staged in compliance with high organizational standards, and also congratulated the Head of the Colombian SAMBO Federation Omar Lopera on his election as President of the Pan-American SAMBO Union that took place in the course of the founding congress of the Union in Santo Domingo.
’Next year, for the first time in the history of FIAS, the World Beach SAMBO Championships will be held. This was made possible due to the corresponding decision made by the Executive Committee of the International SAMBO Federation. This tournament will take place on Cyprus in the city of Larnaca,’ announced Shestakov.
Roman Novikov, Member of the FIAS Commission on Athletes with Disabilities, responsible for the development of the sport for the visually impaired, spoke in his report on the expansion of SAMBO for the Blind throughout the world. He noted significant progress in promoting SAMBO among the blind and visually impaired athletes in recent years.
In the final part of the Congress, it was also decided to elect as members of the FIAS Executive Committee the Head of the Colombian SAMBO Federation Omar Lopera (in the status of Vice President of the governing body), along with Vadim Rogach, Head of the National SAMBO Federation of Ukraine. In this line-up, the FIAS Executive Committee will function until the next report-and-election Congress that is to be held in 2021. The city of Ashgabat, Republic of Turkmenistan, that will host the 2020 World SAMBO Championships, has been approved as the venue for the XXXII FIAS Congress.