International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov has hailed the sport’s inclusion on the programme for the 2019 European Games in Minsk as a "great success".
The European Olympic Committees (EOC) confirmed yesterday that sambo was one of 16 sports that will feature at the second edition of the multi-sport event in Belarus’ capital.
Shestakov was speaking to insidethegames here at the Minsk Sports Palace, which could potentially host the sport at the 2019 European Games, on the opening day of the 2017 European Sambo Championships.
"The athletes can try for themselves the venue where they will probably be competing in two years' time and of course, for sambo, it’s great news and a great success," he said.
"I hope at Minsk 2019 we will see the same high quality fights and good spirit."
Other sports on the programme alongside sambo include athletics, archery, badminton, boxing, canoe sprint, cycling, gymnastics, karate, judo and shooting.
Beach soccer and beach volleyball feature as well, along with 3x3 basketball, table tennis and wrestling.
The sport programme is similar to the inaugural Games, which took place in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku in 2015, where 20 sports were contested, including sambo.
Last month, it was revealed that sambo was among the sports removed from the programme for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang in order to reduce the burden on Indonesian organisers.
The changes, which also saw cricket, skateboarding and surfing taken off the list, mean that the total numbers of sports on the programme should be between 38 and 40, depending on whether doubts surrounding equestrian and roller skating materialise.
This consists of the 42 announced in early March minus cricket and surfing.
However, the number is slightly confusing because the five martial arts of ju-jitsu, kurash, sambo, wushu and pencak silat were grouped together as one sport.
Skateboarding was also due to be combined with roller skating as one sport.
Shestakov insists sambo has not yet definitely lost its place at the Games.
"We know that they are cutting the budget for the event and for now it’s under discussion which sports will be there or which will be removed," he told insidethegames.
"So we heard different sports, including sambo, mentioned but we haven’t received any official information yet.
"I’d like to say that sambo in Asia is very, very popular.
"For example, we have Nepal, Afghanistan, Lebanon participating in sambo events in Asia and they don’t participate in many sports so it’s a success.
"And at the [Asian] Beach Games in Vietnam (in 2016), we had Syria participating in beach sambo which was good."
Shestakov added that Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), had spoken to him about the importance of involving countries or regions subject to conflict or disasters.
He gave the example of Nepal, which fell victim to an earthquake in April 2015, killing nearly 9,000 people.
"It's very good from a social perspective," Shestakov said.
"I hope they will consider that when they make a final official decision about the programme."