FIAS President Vasily Shestakov has underlined his ambition to put sambo on the Olympic programme ©FIAS

International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov hopes sambo can feature as an "exhibition" sport at the Paris 2024 Olympics with a view to securing a permanent place on the programme for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.

Shestakov outlined his plans to make sambo an Olympic sport at a media conference here at the Courtyard by Marriott in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent which is staging the World Sambo Championships.

The Russian official said sambo has come a long way since claiming that former International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge once thought the sport was a type of dance.

Shestakov is now revelling in the fact that the FIAS has gained full recognition by the IOC, boosting sambo’s prospects of one day featuring at the Olympic Games.

The FIAS received the approval at the IOC Session prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in July and Shestakov is now seeking the support of the French National Olympic and Sport Committee for sambo to play some part at Paris 2024.

Shestakov then hopes to push the case for sambo to make its Olympic debut at Los Angeles 2028.

Leaders of the FIAS staged a media conference after yesterday's Congress in Tashkent ©FIAS
Leaders of the FIAS staged a media conference after yesterday's Congress in Tashkent ©FIAS

"When we obtained the first permanent recognition from the International Olympic Committee, many people thought that it could happen," said Shestakov when asked whether sambo could be admitted into the Olympics for Los Angeles 2028.

"We hope that it would be possible for sambo to be on the programme for the Olympics.

"As of today, we have full recognition from the IOC so we feel this support.

"Of course it will not be possible to be in the programme for the Olympic Games in Paris but we hope to organise some exhibition games with the assistance of the French Olympic Committee.

"We hope to have a real chance of inclusion of sambo of the Olympic Games."

Shestakov believes the election of American Mikhail Kozitskiy onto the FIAS Executive Committee following a vote at the organisation’s Congress last night will bolster sambo’s chances of featuring in Los Angeles in seven years’ time.

"Of course we have many hopes to be in Los Angeles 2028," said Shestakov.

"Yesterday the International Sambo Federation Congress was held here and the representative of the US - Mikhail Kozitskiy - was elected onto the Executive Committee so we hope that this could help us to have some arrangements with the US Olympic Committee.

"The US team have many great traditions in sambo and they have many different leagues in MMA [mixed-martial arts] with UFC [United Fighting Championship] many Russian athletes and sambits competing at that level, like Denis Goltsov.

More than 340 athletes from almost 50 nations are competing at the World Sambo Championships ©FIAS
More than 340 athletes from almost 50 nations are competing at the World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

"We hope that in cooperation with the IOC that sambo could be included in the programme for the Olympic Games.

"Of course the IOC is looking at the quality of the organisation of international events.

"There are many different sambo disciplines, so the first World Beach Sambo Championships was held in Cyprus and next year this event will be held in Israel.

"This event is very easy to organise, we just need the beach.

"In Cyprus it was very popular among fans.

"There are many different ways to co-operate with the International Olympic Committee.

"My colleague Roberto Ferraris [secretary general for FIAS] said we are also working on organising events for sambists with disabilities.

"We hope to organise an international event for blind and partiality sighted sambists in 2022 and we are thinking of holding an event for deaf sambists.

"It is another way of our development."