• Vasily SHESTAKOV: “FIAS Developed a Project for Staging SAMBO Competitions in Compliance with the Requirements of IOC and WHO”

Vasily SHESTAKOV: “FIAS Developed a Project for Staging SAMBO Competitions in Compliance with the Requirements of IOC and WHO”

2 July 2020 FIAS
Vasily SHESTAKOV: “FIAS Developed a Project for Staging SAMBO Competitions in Compliance with the Requirements of IOC and WHO”

In his interview given to the Interfax correspondent Dmitry Kirilovsky, the President of the International SAMBO Federation Vasily Shestakov gauged the prospects for returning to carrying out tournaments during the coronavirus pandemic, spoke about the peculiarities of the SAMBO athletes’ fitness maintenance during the lockdown, touched upon the new tournaments and the making of the 2021 competition calendar.

- Vasily Borisovich, competitions in some sports have finally resumed after the hiatus caused by the coronavirus. What is the global situation in SAMBO?

- As an international federation, FIAS is largely dependent on the global situation and on the position of such organizations as the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization. There are real-life obstacles that we encounter when planning and conducting international competitions — among them, first of all, are closed borders or a two-week quarantine which all the arrivals in a particular country must pass. In a number of countries, the pandemic is coming to an end, but scientists predict the second wave of the outbreak this fall. In this situation, it is rather difficult to state anything with confidence. This year has introduced a new reality for all international sports, ant it imposes the new laws.

As to SAMBO competitions in specific countries, we are actively conducting and will keep on staging national championships. We are willing and ready to stage international real-life tournaments, but are forced to wait for the epidemiological situation to revert to normal. Meanwhile, FIAS has focused on online SAMBO tournaments. So far, we have already carried out events in Europe and Africa, this weekend the Asian Cup is to be held, the Pan-American one a week later, - and finally, the Online SAMBO Super Cup.

- Do you develop regulations for conducting tournaments in time of pandemic?

- Yes, this is a very topical issue that is under the jurisdiction of our Swiss headquarters, and just the other day we received a draft of the corresponding regulations in accordance with the requirements of the IOC and WHO. I think that in the near future we shall publish it on our official website.

- How do sambists tolerate the lockdown and how do they maintain their athletic shape, are there any special FIAS recommendations for this?

As an international federation, FIAS decided to not to stand aside and motivate athletes to engage in indoor and outdoor sports, so long as the epidemiological situation in their country permits this.

So, in late March, FIAS launched a flash mob called "Only Together We’ll Defeat The Coronavirus". The campaign suggested that the athletes practice throws and submission holds using a special dummy with the “COVID-19” inscription on its chest and a crown drawn over its head. The flash mob was intended to raise the spirits and consolidate the community in the struggle against this global disaster. It was a pleasant surprise for me that the flash mob was supported by athletes from 89 countries the world over.


The next online event was the participation of FIAS in the “White Card” campaign held by the “Peace and Sport” organization in early April. This promotion is held annually on April 6 on International Sports Day, for the benefit of the global development and peace. Its goal is to facilitate peace through sports. Sambists from all over the world also responded with pleasure to our call by posting numerous photos and videos in support of this campaign.

In June, FIAS launched a new format of sporting events — online SAMBO tournaments in which athletes compete in theoretical parts, such as knowledge of SAMBO techniques. The tournaments are being held across the continents and in their format they resemble a quiz in which one needs to show not only ingenuity, but also demonstrate their level of physical fitness by performing a series of exercises. The competitions are held in an amiable atmosphere, and sambists are happy to take part in them, all the more so because they are awarded with money prizes.  I wish to mention specifically that in the European Online SAMBO Cup held on June 20-21, representatives of Germany and Spain rather than those of Russia or the former Soviet republics reached the finals, which came as quite a surprise. Another pleasant surprise came from Africa where the traditional leaders of the continent, Morocco and Cameroon, were replaced in the finals by the athletes from Congo and Côte d'Ivoire.


I believe that more surprises await us in Asia and the Americas as well. And, certainly, a major sensation may take place in the Super Cup finals. At least, as the President of the International SAMBO Federation, I do hope so. It is important for us that SAMBO expands to the most remote parts of the globe. And this format proved to be one of the most effective tools.

- Recently it was reported that several international tournaments were canceled. When are they planned to be held? In 2020 or will they be deferred to 2021?

- In this case, a lot depends on whether a tournament is annual or not. Take the World Beach SAMBO Championships, for instance. We were going to stage it for the first time ever in Cyprus this year, so it is postponed to next year. At the same time, we had to cancel the continental championships in Africa, as well as the Paris Grand Prix, the World Championships among Masters and a number of other annual tournaments altogether. But we look forward to the European Championships, which is tentatively scheduled to take place in Yekaterinburg in September this year, and to the Kharlampiev Cup, in December. Preparations are underway for the Youth World Championships in Serbia and the World Championships in Turkmenistan. However, a lot will be riding on the global epidemiological situation and the policies of national governments.

- When is it planned to start working on the 2021 Competition Calendar?

- These are two interrelated issues. The fact is that the 2021 FIAS Calendar depends on the 2020 calendar. The work is already underway, but the final decision will be made at the FIAS Executive Committee meeting, which will most likely be held this fall.

- In February, the first ever Combat SAMBO League Championships were held in Sochi, Russia. When is the next tournament expected to take place? Will it always be held in Sochi, or are options for staging it in other cities and countries being considered as well?

- Yes, this is a serious project, which, we hope, will grow highly demanded by both national federations and spectators. The competition in Sochi was a ‘dry run’. We analyzed the tournament, its essence and then decided to finalize the rules and improve its spectacular value. Therefore, the next tournament should become international. Next, we plan to expand on the continental level, but in the future, we wish to make it normal practice to stage the “Combat SAMBO League” at the national level in a number of countries.

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