This modernized form proved immensely popular. National tournaments filled football stadiums as Uzbekistan emerged from its 70 years under Soviet rule. It was not long before international athletes from Judo and Sambo were invited to participate. Kurash’s flexible ruleset and its focus on throwing the opponent made the transition from these sports a simple one.
One such athlete was the UK’s Tim Thomas who was invited to participate in the first ever international tournament for the prize of the President of Uzbekistan in September 1998. Following the tournament, the International Kurash Association, under the Honorary Presidency of HE Islam Karimov was formed from the 28 countries in attendance and Tim Thomas was inaugurated as President of the newly formed British Kurash Association.
Tournaments in the UK soon followed with the results of these determining selection for international events. British teams have enjoyed considerable success on the world stage since 2000 with Senior World and European medals won by Sam Delahay, Joyce Malley, Paul Sawyer, Jack Webb, Darrin Richardson and Leigh Till.