Sambo, a form of martial arts that literally means ‘self-defence without weapons’ was created in 1938 in the former Soviet Union by Vasilii Oschchepkov and Viktor Spiridonov. Since then it has been increasing its global presence, with 14 member countries of FIAS (International Sambo Federation) in 1992 to now 95 members in 2016.
As Robin Hyslop, Chairman of the Sambo Federation of Scotland, told Sputnik:
"In the 1980s I was the only Sambo wrestler in Scotland, now we have 30 years down the line, the President’s Cup with 6 different countries attending and at the Scottish Open every year we have people from all over the world. It’s getting bigger and bigger and the development of it is working."
The organisers of today's event, which is sponsored by the ‘Sistema’ charitable foundation and represented by HRH Princess Katarina of Serbian and British Royal Households, also highlighted the importance of promoting the sport in schools at a grass roots level. President of the Commonwealth Sambo Association, Michael Wynne-Parke, remarked:
"I like very much the idea that we do need to keep the interest of every single generation…Sambo is significant for the world in its present state where people are losing touch with their roots."
The organizers hope that the event stresses the importance of sports like Sambo for promoting positive relations between nations.
"People from Russia and people from Great Britain can work together. Instead of this continual fighting each other, we can work together. It proves that when you get ordinary people together, that’s what they can do," said Martin Clarke, who founded the British Sambo Association back in 1986.
President of the International Sambo Federation, Vasillii Shestakov agreed with this, stating that taking into account the current global political situation, Sambo can act as a "bridge between nations."
Russia is the favourite to win, having won the President’s Cup two years in row. The Head Coach of the Russian Sambo team, Dmitrii Troshkin, spoke to Sputnik about his team's chances.
"Our mood is very good because we are now taking part in this for the third time, we still have very good memories from the first two times and with each time the standard of play is higher and higher…For many of our team this is good preparation for the Sambo World Cup which take place in November in Bulgaria…The dream for us of course that it becomes an Olympic sport as it certainly deserves to be," he said.