Russian athletes competing under the FIAS flag won 24 of the 30 gold medals at the European Youth and Junior Sambo Championships ©ESF

Russian athletes, competing as neutrals, dominated the European Youth and Junior Sambo Championships in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, winning 24 of the available 30 gold medals.

Despite the International Olympic Committee recommending their non-participation at international sport competitions due to the war in Ukraine, the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) and European Sambo Federation are among the few governing bodies to have allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete under a neutral FIAS flag at their events.

That decision has proved contentious, and sparked a boycott of the Championships from the National Sambo Federation of Ukraine.

Russian athletes won 13 of the 16 titles in the youth category, covering competitors aged 16 to 18, including all eight of the women's events on the first day of the Championships at the Sports and Business Centre Vojvodina.

In the junior competition covering athletes aged 18 to 20, neutral Russian sambists won five of the men's events and six of the women's.

Armenia were the only other nation who claimed more than one title.

Erik Saghatelyan overcame Yuri Maleryan, a Russian athlete competing under the FIAS flag, in the men's over-98 kilograms final in the youth category.

In the men's junior events, Ashik Andreyan and Gor Harutyunyan beat Belarusian neutrals Daniil Burak and Mikhail Kukharenka in the under-58kg and under-88kg finals respectively to take golds for Armenia.

Ihar Mirayeuski, a Belarusian competing under the FIAS flag, took gold in the men's youth under-58kg by overcoming Moldova's Artur Tanase.

Moldova claimed a victory in the men's youth under-88kg courtesy of Egor Neciporuc against Romania's Mihai Talpos, and Bianca Prodan of Romania was the other winner as she saw off Ekaterina Soloveva, a Russian athlete competing as a neutral, in the women's junior over-80kg final.

Senior competition at the European Championships is due to be held tomorrow and on Sunday (September 18) in the men's and women's sport sambo and men's combat sambo categories.

The Championships had been due to take place in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, but was moved to Novi Sad due to the war in Ukraine.