Cypriot Sambo Federation President Marios Andreou has spoken of his desire to create a "fully-fledged sambo school" in the country as he looks to provide more opportunities for children to take up the sport.
His comments come after the federation’s first "Sambo to School" project was opened at the Academy Gnosis, a Russian-language school in capital Nicosia.
Andreou said only one school had signed up to the scheme, which sees children from the first and second grades studying the basics of sambo, and was hopeful of encouraging more to join.
"We have been conducting introductory sambo lessons in Cypriot schools for a long time," said Andreou.
"The federation has already sent a proposal to the educational institutions to open a sambo section.
"We are ready to help groups in their endeavours to open evening classes or a fully-fledged sambo school.
"Many children stay at school after the lessons, waiting for their parents, this is the time they can spend on the sambo mats, and in the future, perhaps, join the ranks of professional athletes."
Svetlana Mardapitta, director of the children's centre at Gnosis Academy, declared the Sambo to School project as a success, with many youngsters keen to learn the sport.
"Our children's centre has been cooperating with the sambo section and the federation for a long time," said Mardapitta.
"We saw that children are very interested in this sport and try not to miss classes.
"Therefore, when a general education Russian school was created on the basis of the centre two years ago, we immediately discussed with Marious the possibility of conducting Sambo classes during physical education lessons.
"We knew that the Sambo to School project is now successfully developing in Russia and decided to use this experience.
"Now Sambo classes are held in physical education lessons for both boys and girls.
"At this time, children learn the basics of martial arts, and those who are especially interested in sambo come to additional classes in the evenings."
Cyprus had been due to stage the World Beach Sambo Championships in Larnaca last April, but the COVID-19 crisis caused the cancellation of the event.