First award in sambo history
Belarusian sambo athlete — Stepan Popov — awarded ‘Act of Fair Play’ diploma from the Fair Play International Committee
Overall, 49 candidates from over 20 states were nominated for the awards in the following categories: ‘Act of Fair Play’, ‘Promotion of Fair Play’, ‘Sports Career’ and ‘Youth’. On the basis of the votes, the executive committee members named 32 best who will be awarded special prizes, diplomas and gratitude certificates.
Stepan Popov was nominated for an award by Belarus’ National Olympic Committee, with the support of the International Sambo Federation and the Belarusian Sports Press Association. The sportsman demonstrated his fair play gesture in the final fight of the 1st European Games in Baku, in June 2015. Since the start of the fight, it was clear that our athlete was determined to win against Azerbaijan’s Amil Gasimov (under 74kg). Stepan led at first but his rival equalised. The Belarusian advanced forward, gaining a painful hold and winning as a result. Stepan helped the injured Amil leave the carpet.
The very ‘Act of Fair Play’ by Stepan Popov
“This is the first award in sambo history and I’m sure that it will be appreciated further afield than Belarus,” the sportsman commented. “I have made similar gestures before. I have also been helped off the carpet in the same way. Sambo is a contact sport and nobody wishes to capitulate. This situation took place during the European Games when emotions and tension in the finals were overwhelming. With this in mind, the case received wide coverage. I’m extremely happy to receive this award.”
The awards ceremony is to take place as part of a special gala event in Budapest, in October. ‘Fair Play’ awards in Belarusian sport have previously gone to a three-time Olympic freestyle wrestling champion, Alexander Medved, and European table tennis champion, Vladimir Samsonov. Stepan Popov, European Games champion, has joined good company.
By Kirill Karin