Alamzhon Mullaev hopes for the return of spectators at the World Championships due to take place in Tashkent in November ©FIAS

Sambo Union of Asia (SUA) President Alamzhon Mullaev is hopeful the Sambo World Championships due to be held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent in November can be watched by full crowds.

Mullaev, re-elected SUA President earlier this month, held out hope for spectators at the impending global competition.

Defending Tashkent’s decision to hold the first Asian Championships since 2017 behind closed doors after Indonesia had had to give up hosting because of rising COVID-19 cases, Mullaev said: "We decided to abandon them due to the difficult epidemiological situation in the world.

"Apart from officials and heads of federations, only athletes, coaches, medical personnel and representatives of national teams were present in the hall.

"But we believe and hope that in November we will be able to fill the sports arena to capacity and please the fans of sambo.

"We will think about how to surprise them."

The Sambo World Championships are due to be held in November ©Getty Images
The Sambo World Championships are due to be held in November ©Getty Images

Asked how the Asian Championships had worked as an effective rehearsal for the World Championships, Mullaev responded: "I was satisfied.

"The more such competitions take place, the better.

"We'll highlight the successes, take a close look at the shortcomings, and move on.

"I have no doubt that in November we will be able to surprise the sambo world.

"The Ministry of Sports and Tourism of the country and the National Olympic Committee will also exert their efforts for this."

Mullaev said his priority after being re-elected was to "improve the work of National Federations and focus on youth in order to preserve the continuity of generations".

"Especially in those countries where Sambo is just taking its first steps," he said.

"Without a doubt, we hope that it will be possible to influence China by enlisting the support at the highest level.

"Keeping in mind how they train athletes, the prospects seem colossal.

"Moreover, if everything goes according to plan, I will only be glad to the growth of competition on the continent, because popularisation and progress are important to us."