Vasily Shestakov

In September, the ceremonial opening of the International SAMBO Center (ISC) took place in Moscow, Russia.

For the entire SAMBO family, this has become a truly momentous event. Today I wish to congratulate sambists all over the world on finding their own home where they can perform, practice and hone their technical mastery.

When designing the International SAMBO Center, we studied the established global exemplars, most notably the Japanese Kodokan, the Korean Kukkiwon and other sporting facilities of like size and purpose.

Our experts have implemented all the best things that athletes might find useful to practice SAMBO. 

It was considering their recommendations that the ISC was constructed, a place that we all lovingly refer to as the House of SAMBO. Now, let us point out what exactly makes this Center so exceptional. 

To start with, the House of SAMBO features not only a competition space and training halls, but also a fitness center, an athletic field, a medical and rehabilitation units, a sports and fitness pool with a spa area, that is, all the infrastructure components desirable for most effective preparation for a competition. 

The Center's architectural and technical peculiarity is that anyone can watch the competitions from the outside. Provided by the design, sloping sheets of steel reflect like a mirror the training sessions and bouts being carried out indoors.

In preparation for the construction, the practices of constructing similar buildings in France, Japan, Bulgaria and other countries were carefully researched. 

The International SAMBO Center brings together everything that is required for carrying out competitions and training sessions, as well as for staging official events.

The competition hall at the International Sambo Center in Moscow ©FIAS
The competition hall at the International Sambo Center in Moscow ©FIAS

As the athletes arrive at a tournament, they will be able not only to train and perform in soothing environment, but also to use the entire range of services, from hotel accommodation and meals to undergoing medical and rehabilitation procedures. 

Also, the Center provides for the possibility of holding Congresses, training seminars, instructional sessions, media conferences and many diverse events to suit both the sports officials and members of National Federations.

An important place in the ISC is given to the SAMBO Museum where all visitors would be able to learn the history of this sport, starting from its inception back in 1938.

Now, let us take a closer look at the Center's technical specifications. From my viewpoint, its 4,000 square metre sports arena that has a seating capacity of 1,600, merits special attention.

The bouts can be conducted on three mats at once, whilst the spectators have a fine opportunity to enjoy the fights directly on the mats and watch the action in close-up on a 132 square meter display placed on the wall opposite to the bleachers.

Similar to the video assistant referee in football, the bleeding-edge technologies integrated into the Center's workflow enable referees to promptly view replays of controversial points of ongoing bouts, which is paramount for the refereeing team's operation.

To ensure superb security and public safety, the arena is fitted with a human-face detection and recognition system.

When preparing for a tournament, athletes are able to practice in the training hall equipped with six SAMBO mats. The area of this 18-metre high hall is 1300 square metres. 

It makes a perfect venue for holding training camps of national teams from all over the globe in the run-up to international tournaments.

The training facility at the International Sambo Center in Moscow ©FIAS
The training facility at the International Sambo Center in Moscow ©FIAS

Those who wish to exercise with a barbell or on a treadmill will certainly appreciate the 330 square metre gym that can be used by 50 athletes at a time.

For swimming buffs, a 25-metre-long swimming pool has been constructed, and there is also a spa area that incorporates saunas and a hammam.

Enthusiasts of basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton and other such sports can enjoy the Center's multi-purpose athletic field. 

And for the formal occasions, there is a 200-seat conference hall. It provides for the technical option to translate speakers into four languages at once, thus enabling to host almost any international forum.

Also, the House of SAMBO welcomes beginner sambists who will get a chance to practice alongside world-class SAMBO celebrities.

Apart from daily training sessions, we are going to stage masterclasses featuring SAMBO icons and world champions, such as Fedor Emelianenko, Laure Fournier, Maria Guedez, Seidou Nji Moulu, Vakhtang Chidrashvili, Maria Oryashkova, to name but a few.

I am happy to invite SAMBO athletes from every corner of the globe to the International SAMBO Center. 

I am confident that its opening will provide further impetus to the global expansion of our sport and bring SAMBO closer to its inclusion into the Olympic Games programme.