FIAS plans to actively develop adaptive sambo

Federations
10 April 2015 Sergei Grishin

The Disabled People Commission will be soon created as part of the International Federation of Sambo. The respective decision was made at the meeting of the FIAS Executive Board which was held on March 27 in Moscow. You can read about the tasks of the commission, global prospects of adaptive sambo and other issues on the FIAS website.

Speaking at the meeting of the Executive Board, FIAS President Vasily Shestakov said, “In recent years, sambo has been actively developed among disabled people. They are enthusiastically engaged in our favorite sport and participate in joint training with healthy athletes in sambo clubs. Over several years Russia has hosted the annual open “Overcoming” sambo tournament for blind and visually impaired people, which is attended by representatives of different countries. I think that the national sambo federations around the world should develop this direction since it allows disabled people to be engaged in sambo, strengthening their body and spirit.”

At the meeting of the Executive Board the prospects of inclusion of sambo among disabled people into the Paralympic Games program were also discussed. In order to file an application to the International Paralympic Committee, it is necessary to ensure that one or another sport adapted for visually impaired people is rapidly developed in 15 countries.

In order to ensure the active development of adaptive sambo in the world, it was decided to establish a FIAS Disabled People Commission. In the near future the members of the FIAS Executive Board shall send their suggestions for candidates to the members of the commission to be reviewed at the next meeting of the Executive Board. One of the first and primary tasks of the commission will be the development of international sambo rules for disabled athletes.

The commission members will certainly rely on the combined experience of Russia and Malaysia in this issue. On the day before the meeting of the Executive Board, the Olympic Committee of Russia hosted the meeting of Sergey Eliseev, President of the All-Russian Sambo Federation (ARSF), and Roman Novikov, co-head of ARSF Disabled Athlete Commission, with Susan Cheah, Secretary General of the Malaysia Sambo Association, and Suresh Gopi, Chairman of the Sambo Federation of India. According to ARSF press service, the meeting covered the issues of sambo development among visually impaired and hard of hearing athletes in Malaysia, India and Russia, the development of this sambo direction in the international arena, and holding open competitions.

The main sambo tournament for visually impaired people today is Russian “Overcoming” organized by the Moscow Sambo Federation and inspired mainly by Roman Novikov. This tournament has been held since 2012 and currently transformed into a sambo festival for people with various disabilities. Blind, visually impaired and deaf people take part in these tournaments. People with reduced mobility, amputees and wheelchair users demonstrate their skills at the shows.

“The combat technique is based on tactile and auditory sensations. However, despite the vision impairments the fighters demonstrate a high level of wrestling. Loss of vision is not an obstacle to the use of the full extensive range of sambo techniques,” Roman Novikov said. “Shows of athletes with reduced mobility can leave no one indifferent. Their unique example is really an excellent reflection of the philosophy of sambo.”

The development of adaptive sambo enabled the conclusion of the cooperation agreement between the All-Russian Sambo Federation and the Blind Sports Federation this February. The document was solemnly signed by Sergey Eliseev, ARSF President, and Lidiya Abramova, President of the Blind Sports Federation, Vice President of the Paralympic Committee of Russia, member of the IBSA Executive Board.

“This is a very significant event for all of us,” ARSF press service quotes Lidiya Abramova. “Sambo competitions among visually impaired people initiated by our sportsman Roman Novikov have been held for 4 years already. I hope the next step will be the inclusion of sambo into the Paralympic Games.”

It should be noted that Lidiya Abramova started contributing to the promotion of adaptive sambo to the Paralympic Games even before the official conclusion of the agreement. Last December, Yuri Zhukov, Vice President of the All-Russian Blind Sports Federation, said in the interview for the FIAS website:

“At the Congress of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) in Tokyo, Lidiya Abramova made a presentation of sambo adapted for visually impaired people, which caused a genuine interest of the members of the IBSA Executive Board. Currently, the material is being prepared for submission to the International Blind Sports Federation, and we hope that sambo will be officially recognized as a sport adapted for blind people. I have the information that England, Austria, Slovakia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Nepal, Mexico, the USA and South Korea show great interest in the development of sambo adapted for blind people and this is rather a good result. I also think that in those countries where the blind and visually impaired people show interest in sambo, the national sambo federations should actively support those people and assist them in their undertakings.”

It is for that purpose that the FIAS Disabled People Commission is created. In the years coming, it will focus on the active development of adaptive sambo. As Yuri Zhukov noted, “if everything develops at such a pace in the future, sambo might become one of the disciplines at the Paralympic Games in Japan by 2020 already.”