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SAMBO is born following recognition as an official sport by the USSR All-Union Sports Committee. It is often initially referred to as “freestyle wrestling” with the abbreviation not catching on straight away.

© FIAS
© FIAS
1938

The first-ever SAMBO tournament takes place at the Red Star Stadium in Leningrad, the former name of Russian city Saint Petersburg.

© FIAS
© FIAS
1939

SAMBO officially receives it present name. The USSR SAMBO Federation is founded.

© FIAS
© FIAS
1947

Renowned wrestlers Genrikh Schultz and Alfred Karashchuk make a demonstration of SAMBO at the prestigious World Exposition in Brussels in Belgium.

Aerial view of the World Expo © AFP via Getty Images
Aerial view of the World Expo © AFP via Getty Images
1956

A friendly match between Hungarian and Soviet athletes takes place in the “Dynamo” stadium (Moscow, USSR).

Aerial view of the Dynamo Stadium in East Berlin © DERRICK CEYRAC,GERARD MALIE/AFP via Getty Images
Aerial view of the Dynamo Stadium in East Berlin © DERRICK CEYRAC,GERARD MALIE/AFP via Getty Images
1957

A SAMBO Association is established in Japan.

© FIAS
© FIAS
1963

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) officially recognises SAMBO as the third style of international wrestling and commits to regular international competitions.

FILA logo
FILA logo
1966

The first international tournament takes place in Latvia’s capital Riga with Bulgaria, Japan, Mongolia, the USSR and Yugoslavia all represented.

Riga, capital of Latvia. © Ed Kraucs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Riga, capital of Latvia. © Ed Kraucs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
1967

The first European Open SAMBO Championship takes place in Riga as athletes from eight countries participate.

Old Town and the Daugava River in Riga, Latvia. © Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Old Town and the Daugava River in Riga, Latvia. © Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
1972

The first SAMBO World Championship takes place in Iran’s capital Tehran, where athletes from 11 countries compete.

 © FIAS
© FIAS
1973

The first SAMBO World Cup is held in Oviedo (Spain).

© FIAS
© FIAS
1977

Junior World Championships are held alongside the adult equivalent for the first time in Madrid (Spain).

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20658039
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20658039
1979

Youth sambo is demonstrated during the Opening Ceremony of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.

Opening ceremonies of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia. © Tony Duffy/Getty Images
Opening ceremonies of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia. © Tony Duffy/Getty Images
1980

Women’s World Championships are held for the first time in Madrid (Spain).

© FIAS
© FIAS
1983

The FILA Assembly decides to establish an independent International SAMBO Federation (FIAS). Spaniard Fernando Kompte is elected President.

Fernando Compte © FIAS
Fernando Compte © FIAS
1984

FIAS splits into two organisations, both of which use the same name and logo. The two groups were often referred to as FIAS "East", under Russian control, and FIAS "West", under United States and Western European control.

Martin Clarke © FIAS
Martin Clarke © FIAS
1993

FILA reaches an agreement with FIAS "West" and re-assumes sanctioning over SAMBO.

© FIAS
© FIAS
2005

The World Championships in Prague attract 332 athletes from 43 countries, highlighting SAMBO’s growing appeal across the globe.

2007

FILA again discontinues sanctioning sambo.

© ITG
© ITG
2008

SAMBO features on the programme of the inaugural SportAccord World Combat Games in Beijing.

The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest, in Beijing, China © Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
The Beijing National Stadium, also known as the bird's nest, in Beijing, China © Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
2010

SAMBO features on the programme of the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russian city Kazan.

Vasily Shestakov (left) said the University Sambo World Cup in Kazan met the highest professional standards. © ITG
Vasily Shestakov (left) said the University Sambo World Cup in Kazan met the highest professional standards. © ITG
2013

FIAS and FILA sign a cooperative agreement. FIAS also signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Judo Federation, which sees the two organisations working closely together to develop their work in integrity, media and marketing. SAMBO is officially recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia for the first time and makes its Asian Beach Games debut in Phuket. Sambo star Gulbadam Bahamuratova of Turkmenistan wins the first gold medal of the Games. FIAS President Vasily Shestakov makes it clear that the sport is now targeting recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). English county Kent hosts the first-ever SAMBO President’s Cup.

The close relationship between the IJF and the International Sambo Federation was illustrated when FIAS President Vasiliy Shestakov (right) was invited to present one of the medals during the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk © IJF
The close relationship between the IJF and the International Sambo Federation was illustrated when FIAS President Vasiliy Shestakov (right) was invited to present one of the medals during the World Judo Championships in Chelyabinsk © IJF
2014

SAMBO features on the programme of the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku having been added the previous year. FIAS signs a cooperation agreement with the “Centre for the Study and Conservation of the Amur Tiger”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally lobbied for sambo to be included in the inaugural European Games in Baku © Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally lobbied for sambo to be included in the inaugural European Games in Baku © Getty Images
2015

IOC overlooks SAMBO for recognition at its Session prior to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The sport again misses out at the IOC Executive Board meeting in December. SAMBO features on the programme of the Asian Beach Games in Vietnamese city Danang. The 40th edition of the SAMBO World Championships is held in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia.

Russia dominated the opening day of the World Sambo Championships in Sofia by winning six of the nine medals available © FIAS
Russia dominated the opening day of the World Sambo Championships in Sofia by winning six of the nine medals available © FIAS
2016

SAMBO competitions were held in the program of the Asian and Indoor Games in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) and in Central American Games in Managua (Nicaragua).

Sambo featuring on the programme of the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat © Ashgabat 2017
Sambo featuring on the programme of the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat © Ashgabat 2017
2017

A huge moment in the history of the sport as the International Sambo Federation is granted provisional International Olympic Committee recognition for a period of three years.

Kazakhstan's Baglan Ibragim fights Mongolia's Erdenebaatar Shaaluu during the final of the men's - 52kg Sambo event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 31, 2018. © PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images
Kazakhstan's Baglan Ibragim fights Mongolia's Erdenebaatar Shaaluu during the final of the men's - 52kg Sambo event at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 31, 2018. © PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP via Getty Images
2018