Putin says Sambo wrestling is Russia’s national sport

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a significant declaration on Thursday, affirming that Sambo wrestling holds the esteemed status of being Russia’s national sport. This announcement came during Putin’s visit to a newly constructed Sambo wrestling sports center in Krasnodar, a city in southern Russia.

During the inauguration of the sports facility, Krasnodar Territory Governor Veniamin Kondratyev highlighted the significance of Sambo wrestling, attributing it to the country’s strength of spirit, character, and respect for opponents. In agreement with Kondratyev’s sentiments, Putin acknowledged Sambo wrestling as Russia’s national sport, emphasizing its cultural and athletic significance.

Sambo wrestling, originating in Russia during the 1920s, has deep roots in the country’s history. Developed by soldiers of the Soviet Army, Sambo, an acronym for “self-defense without weapons” in Russian, has evolved into a highly regarded martial art form known for its effective combat techniques.

Russia’s dominance in Sambo wrestling was underscored during the 2023 World Sambo Championships held in Yerevan, Armenia, where Russian athletes secured an impressive tally of 18 medals, including 13 golds. The championships also commemorated the 85th anniversary of Sambo wrestling, further highlighting its importance within the global sporting community.

Putin’s advocacy for Sambo wrestling extends beyond national recognition, as he has previously advocated for its inclusion in the Olympic program. Despite the rigorous approval process required for Olympic consideration, Putin remains steadfast in his support for the sport’s international recognition and prominence.

Beyond his contributions to sports development, Putin’s personal involvement in martial arts, notably judo, reflects his passion for physical activity and athleticism. As a black belt judoka, Putin’s dedication to sports extends to various endeavors, including his advocacy for Formula One racing in Russia and his participation in high-speed activities such as piloting fighter jets and riding motorcycles.

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Putin’s endorsement of Sambo wrestling as Russia’s national sport underscores the country’s rich sporting heritage and commitment to promoting diverse athletic disciplines on both national and global platforms.