In an Interview with a TASS correspondent Mr. Mayur Bansode spoke about the popularity of martials arts in India. “Sambo is already popular in our country, but it can become even more popular thanks to Russia. I turned to His Excellency the Russian Ambassador [to India] Denis Alipov with a request to support us in our plans for sambo in order to create an active official organization here, the sambo federation, which will promote this type of wrestling in our country. We want to contact the Russian Sambo Federation.” said Bansode.
Plans for the Future Sambo Federation of India
Mr. Bansode emphasized on the fact that the Indian government supports sports and allocates grants for its development. “But the important point is that this or that sport must be regulated, formalized. Therefore, we have a plan to create a separate SAMBO federation in India. We want to register it as a non-profit organization,” he said.
According to Mr. Bansode, before applying for a government grant, the organization will need to meet all the criteria required for sports federations. “We will have to present the rules of sambo, safety standards for athletes, anti-doping regulations in this sport. We will also have to hold national sambo championships for three years in a row,” the head of the Indian MMA federation explained. He noted at this stage it is very important that Russian athletes help us.
Sambo – to every Indian village
Mr. Bansode said that each state in India has its own type of wrestling. “Sambo is similar to wrestling, it will be very easy to adapt it in India,” he said.
“Our plan is to come to the villages. There are already gyms in large cities where martial arts are taught. But real wrestlers live in villages. If we introduce Sambo to Indian villages, young people will be involved in this sport. They need to be guided, explained how to build a career in this sport,” said Mr. Bansode. According to him, SAMBO classes will be made available for families irrespective of their financial background.
Introduction of SAMBO classes in schools
Moreover, Mr. Bansode plans to introduce sambo classes in Indian schools. “Sambo is very useful for children and youth. It teaches self-defense. We have a proposal for schools. We can make it one of the types of physical activity in schools. But for this we first need to get approval from the government,” stated the President of the MMA Federation of India (MMAFI).
Mr. Bansode quoted that in Indian schools karate is quite popular, which is a compulsory discipline. “In the future, we can turn to the government to introduce SAMBO in schools. It may not become as popular as cricket. But now is the time that SAMBO will be in demand. Everyone should know how to protect themselves,” the head of Mixed Martial Arts Federation of India believes.
Popularity of Khabib Nurmagomedov in India
Mr. Bansode is confident that the development of SAMBO in India will be an important aspect for further strengthening Russian-Indian relations. “You have a very athletic president. You know, I myself am a fan of [Vladimir] Putin. He does judo! I have a T-shirt with his photo, and of course I want to meet him. I like how he moves, his gait, I saw how he teaches judo to children,” quoted the head of the Indian MMA Federation In India, according to Mr. Bansode, Russian wrestlers are highly admired in India. “In our country, everyone knows Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and Fedor Emelianenko. You know, my students love Khabib, they have a hat like him, they are his fans. If he or Emelianenko comes here, it will be a huge contribution to the development of martial arts as a sport in India,” Mr. Bansode said.
He said that the Indian MMA community has already supported his plans to develop sambo in the country. “When there is support from the Government of India, from Russia, we will be able to spread SAMBO throughout India, teach it to children, captivate young people. The birthplace of SAMBO is Russia, we need your knowledge and your experience,” Bansode emphasized.
In Pic: MMAFI President with his student Mr. Evgeny Griva (Deputy Trade Commissioner of Russia in India)