Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, is hosting the 2016 World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

The 2016 World Sambo Championships are due to begin here tomorrow in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia as the sport continues its efforts to gain International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition. 

Athletes will be competing for 27 gold medals across three days of action at the Arena Armeec.

Competitions in both women's and men's sport sambo as well as men's combat sambo all feature on the programme. 

The women will battle it out for top honours in the 48 kilogram, 60kg and 72kg weight divisions on the opening day of competition before the 52kg, 64kg and 80kg categories take centre stage on day two.

The 56kg, 68kg and over 80kg classes bring the action to a close on Sunday (November 13).

Opening the men's action are the 52kg, 68kg and 90kg divisions with the 57kg, 74kg and 100kg categories being held on day two and the 62kg, 82kg and over 100kg classes rounding off the schedule.

Combat sambo events, which permits punches, kicks, elbows, knees, headbutts and groin strikes, will be contested in the 52kg, 57kg, 62kg, 68kg, 74kg, 82kg, 90kg, 100kg and over 100kg divisions.

Once again Russian athletes will be the favourites to claim both the individual and the overall team gold medals.

At last year's World Championships in Casablanca in Morocco, the Russians topped the overall standings with 13 gold medals in total.

The Arena Armeec, the venue for this week's competiton, being prepared for action ©FIAS
The Arena Armeec, the venue for this week's competiton, being prepared for action ©FIAS

The International Sambo Federation (FIAS) are serious contenders to receive IOC recognition.

Federations currently applying for membership are due to be told if their applications have been successful next month.

"The IOC is currently reviewing the status of a large number of SportAccord members who have applied for IOC Recognition," a document which was sent to all SportAccord Member Federations and obtained by insidethegames explained.

"A decision by the IOC is expected in December."

The FIAS had been hopeful of being put forward for full recognition at the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August, only to be overlooked along with several other Federations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, an Honorary President of FIAS, has been a long standing supporter of the martial art and has called for "every effort" to be made to have sambo recognised by the IOC.

The opening day of action here is scheduled to begin at 10am local time, with preliminary rounds in nine weight categories before the day's finals start at 6pm tomorrow evening.