Sambo has been added to the sports program of the inaugural European Games in Baku.
The announcement was made by the Baku 2015 European Games Operations Committee.
The announcement says: “Sambo is one of the most modern combat sports in the world, and draws on a number of different styles and techniques for inspiration.
An explosive mix of judo, jujitsu and wrestling, it has also incorporated many different fighting styles from Europe and Asia and has become popular worldwide.
The word ‘Sambo’ is an acronym derived from the Russian phrase Samozashchita Bez Oruzhiya - which translates as ‘self-defense without weapon’.
It was developed originally by the Soviet Army in the 1920s to train soldiers in hand-to-hand combat, and has been influenced by a variety of holds from several national single combat styles.
Today, it continues to develop and grow in popularity throughout the world with federations on all five continents.”
Simon Clegg, chief operating officer of Baku 2015, said: “We are delighted to formally announce that Sambo will be included in the sports programme at Baku 2015 and increase the number of innovative new sports we will have on display at next year’s inaugural Games. The opportunity to include such a highly popular sport here in Azerbaijan will further increase the excitement about the event and potentially leave the European Olympic Committees with the legacy of including popular local sports within future sport programs.”
Sambo’s inclusion now means a total of 20 sports will feature at Baku 2015, with 16 Olympic sports and four non-Olympic sports on display.
Meanwhile, Wrestling will also be boosted at Baku 2015 next summer by the inclusion of six more weight categories.
An additional 80 quota places have been granted to the sport and will be filled by the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA).
In total, more than 480 wrestlers will now compete at Baku 2015 over six days of action, with 24 gold medals to be won in the men’s and women’s categories at the Heydar Aliyev Arena.
Nenad Lalovic, President of FILA, said: “It is wonderful to have increased allocation for our athletes to compete at the first European Games. e are very much looking forward to Europe’s finest wrestlers battling it out for the honor of being recognized as the first ever continental champion.”
The inclusion of the two disciplines further demonstrates Baku 2015’s dedication to creating a forward-thinking and innovative approach to hosting the first European Games.
Mr Pierce O’Callaghan, Director of Sport at Baku 2015, added: “The fact that so many sports on our program are using Baku 2015 as a crucial event to advance the athletes’ careers shows how the European sport family is fully behind the first European Games. Having expanded the sports program, we are looking forward to high-quality competition in a range of exciting and innovative sports next year and to welcoming the elite athletes of Europe to Baku.”
BEGOC can also today announce that Street Athletics, featuring High Jump and Pole Vault, will appear as a demonstration sport at next year’s event.
Dr CK Wu, President of AIBA, said: “AIBA’s decision to allocate ranking points at continental Games recognizes that the best boxers in the world are now frequently competing at these events, raising the standard of competition to an extremely high level. I am very excited to see how the European Games contributes to the continued development of boxing in Europe in the future.”