The World Sambo Championships Opening Ceremony was held today ©FIAS

The World Sambo Championships have been officially opened in Novi Sad, with three days of competition to follow.

With the Opening Ceremony following morning bouts in the juniors category, International Sambo Federation (FIAS) vice-president Sergei Eliseev announced the commencement of the tournament on behalf of FIAS President Vasily Shestakov.

Shestakov had had his third term as President extended by four years at the FIAS Congress hours before, and is now expected to continue in the role until November 2025.

"Good evening and on behalf of FIAS President Vasily Shestakov I want to welcome you to the 2020 World Sambo Championships in Novi Sad in Serbia," Eliseev said.

"In these difficult times we were able to organise a very successful tournament and I would like to thank the Government of Serbia, the City of Novi Sad and the Sambo Federation of Serbia for their great efforts.

"I would like to wish all the participants to show great spirit and great fights to win medals and come and show their results to their loved ones.

"On behalf of the FIAS President, I would like to declare the FIAS World Sambo Championships open."

FIAS vice-president Sergei Eliseev officially opened the  World Sambo Championships ©FIAS
FIAS vice-president Sergei Eliseev officially opened the  World Sambo Championships ©FIAS

Novi Sad has held the World Sambo Championships before, back in 1994 when the city was part of  Yugoslavia.

A total of 35 nations are set to compete over the four days of competition, with the World Sambo Championships merging with the youth and junior event this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These younger age groups were always set to compete in Serbia, but the event was extended to accommodate the senior competition too, which moved from Ashgabat in Turkmenistan due to travel restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

No spectators are allowed, while other anti-viral measures have been implemented.

The Opening Ceremony featured a rendition of the Serbian national anthem played, featuring string instruments and two singers. 

A video package displaying landmarks in the host nation was also shown prior to Eliseev's speech.

There are 27 sets of medals to be won at the World Sambo Championships in men's, women's and combat sambo categories.

The action is scheduled to conclude on November 8.