The all-powerful Russian team once more topped the overall medal table at the World Sambo Championships, which were held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent between 12 and 14 November.
The Russian athletes, who were competing under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee as the All-Russian Sambo Federation (RSF), took home 8 of the 22 gold medals on offer. However, they did not have it all their own way.
Used to dominating the sport’s annual showpiece, the Russians were forced to endure a frustrating start to the competition. Despite having reached four finals, the RSF finished the first day with only one gold medal, awarded to Magomedov Rasul after his opponent withdrew from the men’s under-98 kilogram final due to injury.
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The second day became a power struggle between the RSF and the hosts, as Russian fighters faced off against Uzbek rivals in all five of the men’s finals held that day. In front of a passionate home crowd, the Russians kept their composure to win three of the five gold medals on offer. Meanwhile, Uzbek fighter Sarbon Ernazarov was disqualified for unsportsmanlike behaviour after seemingly refusing to accept defeat in the men’s under-71 kilogram final.
The RSF finished the tournament strongly, taking four of the seven gold medals available on the final day of competition. They included an historic ninth world title for the formidable Artem Osipenko in the men’s over-98 kilogram division. It all meant that the RSF topped both the men’s and combat sambo medal tables, with Belarus claiming first place in the women’s standings.
A total of 22 nations took home medals from the 2021 edition of the world championships, which were the first to be held by the International Sambo Federation since it received full recognition from the International Olympic Committee in July. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Moscow. However, the Federation announced in March that it was to be relocated to the Yunusobod Sport Complex in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent.
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