History of Sambo in Azerbaijan
Sambo began to develop in Azerbaijan in the late 1930s. The origins of Sambo are closely associated with the name of the honoured coach and referee, Ismail Akhmedov.
The first nationwide competition in the history of Sambo was held in Baku, 28–29 November 1938. This tournament was attended by five teams representing the cities of Baku, Moscow, Kiev, Leningrad and Saratov, and participants competed in six different weight classes. The founder of Sambo, A. Harlampiev, and famous Sambo theoreticians E. Chumakov and A. Konstantinov, among others, competed in this tournament.
Later, the first national Championship of Azerbaijan was also held in Baku, in March of 1954, along with a special training workshop conducted by E.M. Chumakov. Sabir Huseynov, Alkivarid Pavlidi, Mukhtar Dadashov and Islam Humbatov became the first champions of Azerbaijan at this competition. Sabir Huseynov (weight category: up to 60kg) went on to win silver at the USSR Championship, which was held in the city of Kharkov on 3–8 April of the same year. This victory earned by Sabir Huseynov, who was a professional athlete in four styles of wrestling – Greco-Roman, freestyle, national and Sambo – was a high honour for his country.
The first gold medal earned by Azerbaijan came from Kamal Gasimov (weight category: up to 52kg) in 1966 at the USSR Championship held in Leningrad. At the USSR Youth Championship, the first gold medal won by Azerbaijan was earned in 1979 by Farhad Agayev (weight category: up to 57kg), a graduate of the Sumgait School of Sambo. At the Junior World Championship in France in 1982, another graduate of the Sumgait School of Sambo, Faik Agayev (weight category: up to 52kg), won a gold medal. In 1987 a student from the Agdam School Jeyhun Mammadov won the Junior World Championship, and later became champion at the USSR, World and European competitions.
Zulfiya Huseynova, the first woman Sambo wrestler, won a gold medal for Azerbaijan at the national Championship in 1991, as well as at the European Championships and the World Championship in 1992.
Over the years, Baku has hosted a number of international Sambo events. From 1973 to 1981, Azerbaijan’s capital hosted international Sambo tournaments dedicated to the memory of A. Kharlampiev, and in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2002 to the memory of the international master of sports Rafik Ismailov. In 1984, Azerbaijan’s first specialised school of Sambo opened in the city of Agdam and was led by Farhad Ocaqverdiyev.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan earned significant achievements in Sambo. In 1992, Azerbaijian took 2nd place among adults at the World Cup held in Minsk, Belarus.
The 1997 European Championship was held in Baku from 1 through 4 May. Azerbaijan’s youth team took 1st place and its adult team took 2nd place. Later, Azberbaijan took second place at the 2010 Student World Cup held in Prague.
Thanks to the initiative, assistance and attention of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the National Olympic Committee and the Azerbaijan Sambo Federation, Azerbaijan has been able to regularly hold competitions such as the Championship of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Cup, and competitions which honour the memory of beloved coaches like A. Aliyev and others.