The senior coach of Belarus' national sambo team, Vyacheslav Kot, has been awarded the Order of Honor by the country's President Alexander Lukashenko.
Kot, who has led the team for 23 years, was recognised for "great achievements" in Belarusian sport.
Under his leadership, athletes have had success at the World and European Championships, and at prestigious international events.
"It is very pleasant to be appreciated, but I believe that this is a merit of the national team and all Belarusian sambo," Kot said.
"It's just that this award and recognition were embodied in the Order that I received.
"Something big and whole is always made up of grains.
"A person who does what they love gives their all.
"Sometimes we receive recognition from structures, including international, state and republican ones.
"This suggests that we are moving in the right direction.
"The main thing is that our sport develops."
According to Kot, Belarusian sambists are among the three world leaders.
The head coach of Belarus' national sambo team, Dmitry Bazylev, claims that such a high ranking shows dedication to work and high professionalism, which should be followed.
"I am sure this award will give a positive result in further work," he said.
"It is difficult to jump over the achievements of your teacher - for a start, I would like to correspond with him.
"But you need to strive for more, otherwise you will stop at the same level."
Belarusian sambo and judo legend Ernst Mickiewicz, who received the Order of Honor from Lukashenko in 2017, stated that many Olympic sports cannot boast such high awards.
He believes this will encourage sambo coaches and athletes to produce more good results, and also motivate many young athletes.
"I'm sure that this will give an impetus to the development of sambo in Belarus," he said.