Sambo success proves Russia is ‘an integral part of world sport’, minister says
The Russian Sambo team finished in first place at the European Championships
Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said the country’s performance at the recent European Sambo Championships in Serbia demonstrates how integral Russia is to the global sports landscape.
Sambo is a combat sport that has its roots in the Soviet Union and includes different striking and grappling elements. It is traditionally popular in Russia and surrounding territories.
Prominent mixed martial arts fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov and Fedor Emelianenko can trace much of their success in the cage back to their upbringing in the martial art.
The Russian team, which competed under a neutral flag at the European Championships from September 15-18, finished first in the overall medal standings at the event in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, even if this happened in the context of a Ukrainian boycott to protest against the inclusion of the Russian and Belarusian teams.
The International Sambo Federation has given its blessing to martial artists from Russia and Belarus to compete despite an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommendation to the contrary, with both countries suspended from a host of other sports after the campaign began military in Ukraine earlier this year.
« I am happy to congratulate our Sambo team for their brilliant result at the European Championshipssaid Russian Sports Minister Matytsin on Monday as he reacted to the success.
« The Russians won 51 medals, including 40 gold, and deservedly led the team competition.
« The International Sambo Federation’s decision to allow teams from Russia and Belarus under a neutral flag at the European Championships is an important opportunity for athletes to appear in a competitive environment, to perform at a tournament for which they have been preparing throughout the season.
« And with their result, they confirmed that Russian sport is an integral part of the European and global sports community.Matytsin added.
The minister also called on the victorious Russian team to continue their success at the world championships to be held in Kyrgyzstan in November.
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Meanwhile, the Ukrainian boycott that affected this year’s European Championships had already been criticized by the head of the European Sambo Federation, Sergey Eliseev.
« It is very important to us that all athletes can compete regardless of political situations. And we consider it wrong to mix sport with politics, » he said.