Vasily Shestakov: 'Practice sambo.' ©

Vasily Shestakov, president of FIAS, was pleased during the International Sambo Day. "It is a pride and joy to see that our beloved sport is turning 85." The president stated that "in 1938, our founding fathers created this sport," and since then, its practice and development have been growing, multiplying, and becoming international.

'My congratulations,' said Shestakov. Approaching the century mark, 'many successes have been achieved worldwide' to the point that FIAS has become 'the largest International Federation,' and, more importantly, the president pointed out, 'recognized by the International Olympic Committee. These achievements 'have provided great influence and popularity worldwide,' a circumstance that has had a significant impact and has led to the practice of sambo in many countries, something that years ago could have been unthinkable. 

'Today, millions of people around the world practice sambo,' added the president on the international day of the discipline. The data is eloquent and speaks for itself about what sambo is today. 'It is practiced in 140 countries.' A real achievement that serves to encourage those who work on it and contribute to its development. Another aspect that Shestakov addressed in his thanks to practitioners of this sports discipline is that thanks to media coverage and sports broadcasts, sambo is becoming known in places that previously did not even know it could exist. This possibility allows for enormous returns. 'The audience for television broadcasts of the World Sambo Championships is about 20 million people.' An undoubtedly significant milestone. 

All these numbers and the current scenario in general, but in sambo in particular, are something that no one dreamed of, as the president rightly said. 'Probably, the people who created this sport did not expect this.' Shestakov made a call to all the people who make up the 'sambo family' because, in his view, 'it is not just a sport,' it is something more. Shestakov stated that 'on the mat, we are competitors, and when we leave the mat, we are all friends and brothers.' The international leader concluded his presentation by wishing them all 'happiness and health. Practice sambo!' and focused on the young, who will ultimately be the future of this sport in the coming years. 'Love sambo the way we, the veterans of this sport, love it.' 'Thanks to their work and efforts, sambo became such a wonderful sport,' he said in reference to the elders, those who have spent a lifetime attached to this special and traditional sport. His presentation ended with a wish. 'I wish you all happiness and health. Practice sambo!'"