From 5 to 8 November in Novi Sad the Championship and the World SAMBO Championships were held. In the team standings, as expected, the winner of the competition was the adult, youth and junior national teams of Russia. However, there were some surprises in individual bouts, which indicate that the level of sambo in the world is constantly growing.
So in combat sambo in the category up to 100 kg, Seydou Nji Mulu from Cameroon won the gold medal. As the fighter said, he was not at all sure that he could fly to Serbia — they have a coronavirus raging and therefore the borders are closed. However, thanks to the efforts of the team, the authorities nevertheless went to meet the national team and let the athletes go to the international summit. Nzhi dedicated his victory to his teammates:
“We work together, we train together, we are one. The path to this medal was very long, it took not months, but years. We all won this medal together. I thank God and the team that this result has been achieved today,” said the athlete from Cameroon.
This international competition has become special for everyone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Firstly, many athletes had poor training due to the self-isolation regime. Secondly, in order to minimize the risk of contracting a coronavirus infection, serious restrictive measures have been taken — athletes can only be in two locations, either in the arena where the competitions are held or in the hotel where they live. For violation of the rules — disqualification.
As Ekaterina Doroshenko, the champion among juniors in the category up to 68 kg, said, during quarantine they trained on the street and at home:
“The coach gave us a list of exercises that we did every day. It was hard because there was no carpet training, but it gave me the opportunity to hone other skills and develop other qualities. After the quarantine, of course, it was difficult to return to the carpet. At first there was a feeling that you were learning to fight again. But the training camp before the competition allowed us to bring ourselves to the tournament qualitatively. Of course, there were many rumors that the World Championship would not take place, but I tried not to be distracted by this. My sports career does not end at this competition, so we worked and understood that serious tournaments and qualifiers were still ahead of us,” said the sambist.
It was indeed a unique challenge for SAMBO. According to Sergey Eliseev, vice-president of the International Sambo Federation, they first encountered the holding of competitions at a time when the pandemic swept the whole world. But it was simply impossible not to host the World Cup. Sambo is developing every year, athletes are waiting for new challenges, and for many it could be the last international competition in their sports career.
“It can be seen that the general level of struggle in the world has grown significantly. Today there are no passing fights. I believe that the task of developing SAMBO on all continents, which FIAS sets for itself, we are leading in the right direction,” Sergei Eliseev shared with journalists.
The championship and the World SAMBO Championships were held with the support of the Serbian government, the administration of the city of Novi Sad and the general partner of the competition — PJSC NK Rosneft.