Laure Fournier, who is also an acomplished judoka, says sambo's provisional IOC recognition is "an amazing achievement" ©Peace and Sport

Chair of the International Sambo Federation’s (FIAS) Athlete Committee has hailed the sport’s provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as "an amazing achievement".

Laure Fournier, winner of te women’s 56 kilograms gold medal at the World Championships in Bucharest last month, predicted the recognition "opens a bright future" for sambo.

"I am very proud to see this day and to have participated to make it happen," said the Frenchwoman.

The IOC announced its provisional recognition, which will last for three years, following an Executive Board meeting in Tokyo last Friday (November 30).

It means FIAS will now be eligible for funding from the IOC, including grants for development programmes.

Such recognition is not possible without an Athletes’ Commission, and Fournier was quick to highlight the work of the body she chairs.

Sambo originates from the Soviet Red Army, where it was developed to improve hand-to-hand combat skills ©FIAS
Sambo originates from the Soviet Red Army, where it was developed to improve hand-to-hand combat skills ©FIAS

"FIAS AC has done a lot of work and proposals since being elected, enabling the athletes’ voice to be considered in decisions such as qualification pathway, sambo rules, refereeing matter and so on," Fournier said.

"We have also met during competitions with IOC representatives to present and support our sport."

The 29-year-old Fournier claimed the new recognition would help raise awareness of the sport and help National Federations to "better structure themselves".

"This could definitely help the sport become more professional in many countries, therefore increasing the number of athletes and national teams participating at major events, and making it an increasingly worldwide spread sport," she said.

"Our future holds a lot of work still to be accomplished, but it is also full of promises.

"Every athlete dreams of being an Olympian, and if we continue working hand in hand in that direction, I hope we can offer this to [a] future generation of sambists."