President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I am very pleased to meet you all at one of our famous sports complexes, the Sambo-70.
I am especially glad that we have gathered here on occasion of the opening of a new facility, that all of you are here with us today and that we can use this event to discuss aspects of developing sambo as a martial art. So there are three reasons to be glad.
Sambo is our national sport, but it has long ago proliferated beyond our borders. It is developing actively on every continent, gaining more and more supporters. We are seeing more and more sambo practitioners, viewers and fans. Refereeing is developing and rules are improving.
Sambo is a very dynamic, beautiful sport that incorporates a large number of martial arts from various peoples of the former Soviet Union. In this regard, it has been international from the very beginning, given today’s borders.
One of the progenitors of sambo was a man who received his sports training in Japan. And when he returned to his homeland, he did everything possible to spread the knowledge he gained from the land of the rising sun here in Russia, with an emphasis on also employing national martial arts from cultures of the former Soviet Union. All of this became a solid foundation for developing this sport.
We will support you in every way possible. We hope this sport will one day become an Olympic event; I think it would be entirely justified and fair. Conversely, the elimination of traditional forms of wrestling from the Olympic programme, the sports that initially formed the core of the Olympic competitions in Ancient Greece, is ungrounded. These were the very sports that in fact launched the Olympic movement.
But this is a separate topic. I understand that the number of Olympic sports is limited and that sports should evolve. We must respect present-day interesting and progressing popular sports that attract millions of people. But this is a subject for a separate discussion with sports organisers. I hope that we will have opportunities to hold that discussion with our friends from the International Olympic Committee. But as far as sambo is concerned, I think that sports like sambo should certainly have the opportunity to be included in the Olympics.
I once again welcome you and hope we will have an active, concerned and essentially familial discussion, since we are one family.
Thank you very much.