Zeljko Banic believes sambo ought to use taekwondo as a source of inspiration in its Olympic bid ©FIAS

Sambo should look no further than taekwondo for inspiration as the sport aims to achieve its ultimate goal of making it onto the Olympic programme, according to Croatian Sambo Federation (CSF) President Zeljko Banic.

International Sambo Federation (FIAS) chief Vasily Shestakov claimed in September that sambo could be recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as early as this year, which would mark a significant step forward for the sport. 

Just 15 years after the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was established in 1973, taekwondo featured as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, before doing so again four years later in Barcelona.

The sport made its debut on the full Olympic programme at Sydney in 2000. 

Speaking here at the end of the European Sambo Championship, Banic said he often uses taekwondo as an example when discussing ways forward for sambo with his peers.

"[It's a] great success story," he told insidethegames.

"I don’t talk about taekwondo like sport.

"I don’t talk about taekwondo techniques.

"I talk about [a] leading brand and making [a] brand."

Taekwondo made its debut on the Olympic sports programme at Sydney 2000
Taekwondo made its debut on the Olympic sports programme at Sydney 2000 ©Getty Images

After taekwondo's success at London 2012, the WTF launched a Grand Prix series the following December as it continued its mission to improve and evolve the sport worldwide.

Banic, President of the CSF since its establishment in February 2010, claimed taekwondo's decisiveness in making decisions has been pivotal to its success, something he thinks is lacking among the governing bodies of sambo.

"When you have many Federations, many different countries, and for all decisions you must have a majority, it's very, very slow," he added.

Another important issue that sambo needs to address, as far as Banic is concerned, is the imbalance of power between the dominant Eastern European nations and their western counterparts.

This was particularly evident here in the Croatian capital, where Russia, Belarus and Ukraine shared 20 of the 27 gold medals on offer, while France and Italy were the only Western countries to feature on the medal table with just four bronzes between them.

Banic also believes that sambo requires a revolutionary addition, referring to the impact that the introduction of the three-point shot had on basketball in 1967.

One particular aspect of the current points system which he isn’t favourable of is the awarding of four points for a 20-second pin, preferring scores for more "attractive" actions which appeal to a younger audience.

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