The President of the International Sambo Federation has told insidethegames the development of Para-sambo is "very important" ©FIAS

The President of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) Vasily Shestakov asked the sport's National Federations to further develop Para-sambo during the sport's Annual Congress here in Bucharest.

Speaking to insidethegames amid the 2018 World Sambo Championships, the Russian added that the development of Para-sambo is a "very important topic" as FIAS look to further improve the sport in what is its 80th anniversary year.

"It [Para-sambo] is a very important topic for us," Shestakov said.

"We have already held several competitions for visually impaired and deaf athletes, because other kinds of disabilities are more difficult for the sport itself, but for these kinds of disabilities we are really hoping to work harder on that.

"We are speaking to the National Federations and encouraging them to promote this area."

During the Congress itself, Shestakov said the popularity of the sport is increasing every year and becoming "one of the most beloved sports".

Although he did also acknowledge that more work needs to be done.

"We understand that we have a lot of things to improve and develop still," he said.

Earlier in the meeting, the head of the Commission for Athletes with Different Abilities Susan Cheah suggested FIAS should start better educating coaches on Para-sambo and add Para-categories to each major championship.

The 2018 World Championships, which started yesterday, does not feature any Para-athletes.

How to further develop Para-sambo was one of the topics discussed at the FIAS Congress ©FIAS
How to further develop Para-sambo was one of the topics discussed at the FIAS Congress ©FIAS

According to Cheah, some sambo coaches "do not know what to do" when it comes to teaching disabled sambists.

She suggested it should be made compulsory that two hours be dedicated to the topic of Para-sambo at every coaching and refereeing seminar in the future.

"We need to educate the coaches first," she said.

"Second, we need to educate the referees."

She also suggested that in the future, every major Championship should include "at least four categories", two female and two male, for disabled sambists.

"Let us give these people a second chance," she said.

"We can only do that if the Congress here all agree that every time we have a seminar, we include this as part of the syllabus."

In response, Shestakov said it was "something we need to consider".

"We had a meeting in Sochi, we thought about introducing new rules for this because it is something worth considering," he said.

"I would like to ask the Presidents of the National Federations to gradually start organising competitions at a national level for those with impairments."

Formed in the early 20th Century, sambo is a relatively modern sport that Shestakov says is growing in popularity every year.

This year, for the first time, the finals of the World Championships are being broadcast live across the world on the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Olympic Channel, after an agreement was signed between the IOC and FIAS in April.

Shestakov described the news as a "breakthrough".