FIAS President Vasily Shestakov has called 2018 a "historic" year for sambo ©FIAS

The President of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) Vasily Shestakov has described 2018 as "historic" in his end of year address to members.

The year saw FIAS - which has a long-term goal of gaining a place on the Olympic programme - receive provisional recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the first time.

It means the body is now eligible to receive funding from the IOC to further help its development, with Shestakov describing the achievement as "stupendous".

He claimed that sambo's popularity is growing "all over the globe".

"Most definitely, the highlight of this year was the provisional recognition of the International Sambo Federation granted by the International Olympic Committee," he said.

"This stupendous achievement came as a result of our joint efforts, active work of athletes, coaches, referees, medical staff, employees of national and continental federations, and the entire sambo community."

Shestakov also noted other significant events including the sport's participation in the Asian Games for the first time, and the first World Schools Championships.

Vasily Shestakov congratulated all sambists across the world for their achievements ©FIAS
Vasily Shestakov congratulated all sambists across the world for their achievements ©FIAS

"But, despite these outstanding successes, the main part of our work is still ahead," he said.

"Today, we face new challenges, such as obtaining the permanent recognition by the IOC and inclusion of sambo in the Olympic Games programme.

"To achieve this, we ought to conquer new heights and win even more hearts of sports enthusiasts worldwide.

"And I am quite confident that we can do it."

In 2019 sambo will feature at the European Games in Minsk, while FIAS "will keep striving" to enter the programme for other multi-sport events.

"With all my heart, I congratulate the sambists of the entire world on the approaching Christmas and New Year," Shestakov said.

"I wish the coming year to become the time of accomplishments, fulfilled expectations, and steady progress that brings you most pleasant surprises and makes your dreams come true.

"To good health, happy spirits, new wins and records, family warmth and well-being."