Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the decree yesterday to recognise Sambo Day ©Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree making Sambo Day an annual celebration in the country every November 16.

It is said, according to official Russian state news agency TASS, this was done to "popularise and develop" the sport, as published in a document yesterday.

Sambo is significant in Russia and other former Soviet nations, a martial art similar to wrestling and judo used as self-defence.

It was developed in the Soviet Union during the 1930s.

November 16 is a date of significance, as the USSR Sports Council included sambo on the recognised sports list on that day in 1938.

International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov said he hoped Russia's move for Sambo Day would continue across other nations.

The decree approving the Sambo Day in Russia ©Kremlin
The decree approving the Sambo Day in Russia ©Kremlin

FIAS already recognises International Sambo Day on the same date.

"This is great news for the entire sambo community," said Shestakov to TASS.

"Of course, the establishment of the Sambo Day will contribute to the development and popularisation of our sport in Russia.

"For my part, I hope that this experience will become a 'first sign' and an example for other countries that will also include Sambo Day in their national calendars, because sambo is an Olympic [recognised] sport that has millions of fans around the world."

Due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia - with assistance by Belarus - athletes from both of these nations cannot compete under their countries' flags, names or anthems at FIAS, but can compete neutrally.

Because of this ruling, Ukrainian athletes boycotted the recent FIAS World Sambo Championships in Bishkek due to the present of these sambists.