International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov has hailed the sport's inclusion on the programme for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, describing the decision of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) as a historic one.
An OCA Executive Board meeting held here on Tuesday (September 19) on the sidelines of the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games had initially confirmed a proposal made in April to cut cricket and sambo from the initial list of sports.
But the OCA confirmed to insidethegames on Thursday (September 21) that sambo had in fact been included under a group of five martial arts sports, which also includes ju-jitsu, kurash, wushu and pencak silat.
The sports programme was confirmed during a wide-ranging update on preparations with less than a year to go until the Games are scheduled to begin on August 18.
Asked why he thought it had taken so long to get clarification on sambo’s inclusion in the event, Shestakov told insidethegames he thinks it was mainly because so many sports wanted a place in the competition.
"From what we heard, sports which were also part of the Martial Arts Games, including muaythai, and some others, were under consideration," the Russian said.
"So we’re just happy that the OCA and the Organising Committee made this decision.
"We believe it’s the right decision and we are sure that we won’t disappoint the OCA."
Speaking earlier during a press conference, Shestakov described Asian Games inclusion as a "great success" for sambo and said it will help to further promote the sport both in the continent and all around the world.
A total of six weight categories will be contested in sambo at the 2018 Asian Games.
Sambo Union of Asia President Alamjon Mullaev confirmed to insidethegames that they will be the men’s under 62 kilograms, under 74kg and under 90kg, and the women’s under 56kg, under 64kg and under 72kg divisions.
This followed discussions between the continental governing body, FIAS and its technical staff.
Mullaev said a minimum of eight weight categories had been expected, but he added it’s understood that "it’s not that easy".
"We will make sure that by having our events and by keeping the high level of organisation that we deserve more," he told insidethegames.
"But still for us it’s the first step."
A 40-sport and 462-event programme was given final approval for the 2018 Asian Games
The final selection includes every sport set to feature on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020, except for surfing.
Others due to be contested are bowling, bridge, jetski, kabaddi, martial arts, paragliding, roller sports and sepak takraw.
The final number of events represents a significant increase on the 431 announced earlier this year.
The 462 total is the second biggest in the history of the Asian Games - after the 476 which appeared at Guangzhou in 2010 - and marks a huge increase on the 321 scheduled for Tokyo 2020.
Skateboarding is due to be contested as a discipline of roller sports, while soft tennis will take place within tennis.
It is thought that the increase in events since the April total took place after International Federations raised concerns that events on the Olympic programme were missing out.
Indonesian organisers initially announced that there were 38 sports being contested as they were hoping to amalgamate paragliding, jet ski and roller sports together under the banner of "extreme sports" in order to reduce the quota.
This proposal was rejected by Coordination Commission chair Tsunekazu Takeda.