Nobuyuki Asai has cast doubt on Japan's involvement in the World Sambo Championships, citing concerns over competitors having to quarantine upon their return from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan ©Getty Images

Nobuyuki Asai, the vice-president of the Japan Sambo Federation, has cast doubt on the country’s involvement at November’s World Sambo Championships, in comments made after the annual Japanese Sambo Championships.

This event was held on August 29 at the Sumida Sports Centre in Tokyo, with the Cup of Russian President Vladimir Putin up for grabs for the ninth time.

The International Sambo Federation (FIAS) quoted comments from Asai made to Russian state news agency TASS, which suggested Japanese competitors would face difficulty reaching Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, for the World Championships.

"This time, I think we will not be able to send the winners to the World Sambo Championships, which will be held in Tashkent in November," said Asai, who is also a member of FIAS’ Executive Committee.

"It will be easy to get there if you have a negative test or a certificate of vaccination against coronavirus.

"However, upon returning back, the athletes will have to wait for a two-week quarantine.

"Many of them are university students, and they are unlikely to be allowed to go to the championship in such a situation."

Japan is currently battling its biggest wave of the pandemic, and last week more prefectures were placed under state of emergency restrictions.

At the Japanese Sambo Championships itself, 16 athletes took part, with the winners presented with their awards by the ambassador of the Russian Federation in Tokyo, Mikhail Galuzin.

Ganki Baba triumphed in the men’s 58 kilogram division, Motohiro Hirano in the 64kg, Kyohei Hagiwara in the 71kg and Wataru Higa in the 98kg.

The tournament was the 47th edition of the Japanese Championships, and the first since February 2020 after this year’s was initially moved from February to July, before eventually taking place last Sunday (August 29).