After nearly three decades of advocacy sambo athletes are one step closer to Olympic glory. FIAS (the International Sambo Federation) finally obtained provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee on November 30th, a qualification they have been advocating for since 1980. They are joined by WAKO, the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations, which applied for consideration in 2016.
The nods from the IOC came direct from President Thomas Bach.
Provisional recognition is part of obtaining the “permanent IOC recognition” necessary to become included in the program of events for the Olympic Games, and “reflects that FIAS’s embrace of the values of the Olympic Charter.” Sambists hope that the sport will become part of the Olympic lineup by 2024, though provisional recognition does not guarantee participation.
FIAS President Vasily Shestakov said of the development in a press release:
“Today the dream of sambists from all over the world came true…Currently there are several developing disciplines in sambo: sport sambo for men and women, combat sambo, beach sambo, demonstrational sambo, which proves that this is a truly popular public sport available to almost anyone. Sambo stars such as Fedor Emelianenko and Khabib Nurmagomedov are the idols of millions of people worldwide. Today we have accomplished the big and perhaps the most difficult step forward.”
WAKO interim President Francesca Falsoni, serving after the recent death of Borislav Pelevic, also commented:
“All our hard work, focused attention on development, patience and a dedicated and competent teamwork has finally paid off. When everything is settled we will raise the bar and reach for new and higher goals…it is also important to dedicate this recognition to Borislav Pelevic that supported and approved all the work done, not to say to Ennio Falsoni that founded the WAKO we see today.”