The program of the 2024 Olympics in Paris, has already been approved, and sambo cannot be represented there. But there is hope to debut at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. What is to be done for that, what algorithm should be followed by any martial artisan wishing to join the ranks of the Olympic movement and what contribution our country can make to fulfill the dream of thousands of athletes told Vasily SHESTAKOV, the President of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS).
— What does sambo need to take into consideration first of all to join the Olympic movement?
— There is a certain plan of action related to meeting the requirements set by the International Olympic Committee. They are unified for all the sports. Among them: the existence of an International Sports Federation for a sport recognized by the IOC, recognition and fulfillment of the “Olympic Charter” and the World Anti-Doping Code by the sports federation, availability of a wide distribution, holding world, regional and national championships and cup competitions.
— Can we say that the Slavic countries (in particular Russia, Belarus and Ukraine) represent a great competition in sambo in the world and that the talks about inclusion of this sport into the Olympics are being held exactly for them?
— That is not quite true. Indeed, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine were stable favorites in international tournaments a few years ago but today a number of countries have made a real breakthrough. The superiority in class is not so obvious any more, the duels of the traditional favorites with yesterday’s outsiders are no longer an easy walk. Good results in recent years are shown by teams from the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Latvia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and a number of other countries. So there are many beneficiaries.
Recognition of sambo by the IOC is a great victory for sambo as an international sport, which at present is developing in more than 130 countries on 5 continents and continues to open up new countries. As for which teams might be interested in being recognized by the IOC — in my opinion it would be Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, that is mainly former Soviet republics. I would also single out teams from Romania, France, Bulgaria, Serbia, Mongolia, Korea, Cameroon and even Venezuela. All of these teams have won gold medals at major international sambo tournaments, including world championships.