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27 Feb, 2022 10:29

Judo chiefs make Putin decision

The Russian President has been the Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation since 2008
Judo chiefs make Putin decision

The International Judo Federation (IJF) has suspended Russian President Vladimir Putin as its Honorary President and Ambassador, halting the role the head of state has held at the governing body since 2008.

Sports fan Putin has regularly attended judo events including the competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where he sat alongside then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron and embraced Tagir Khaibulaev after the Russian judoka won gold, and the 2018 World Championships in Baku.

Putin is a black belt who was a regional judo champion in his hometown of St. Petersburg during his youth, according to the IJF website.

He also produced an instructional DVD on the martial art in 2008, 'Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin', and has written a book about the sport which was distributed to millions of schoolchildren.

Khaibulaev, Rio 2016 Olympic champion Beslan Mudranov and Natalia Kuziutina, who won a bronze medal at the same Games, took part in a session with Putin at the Federal Center for Sports Training in Sochi in 2019.

When he was asked at the time if training was more helpful in lifting a weight off his mind or making him more energized, Putin replied: "Probably it is both.

"It’s a well-known medical factor: for a person who exercises, the level of adrenaline rises, the mood improves, you look at life differently.

"This, so to speak, is almost [a case of the] 'rose-colored glasses' being removed. Everything [becomes clear]... such a complex effect.

"The more upscale the athlete, the more worthwhile the [partner]. He feels everything at his fingertips, as they say."

Mudranov said at the time: “For his age, President Putin is very good – and among all the Presidents of all countries on the tatami [mat], he definitely will not have an equal.”

In a statement on Friday following the start of the military operation in Ukraine, IJF President Marius L Vizer said: "We are saddened by the current international situation, the result of inefficient dialogue at international level.

"We, the sports community, must remain united and strong, to support each other and our universal values, in order to always promote peace and friendship, harmony and unity.

"The judo family hopes that the current unrest can be solved in the last moment, to re-establish normality and stability in Eastern Europe and the world, to once again be able to focus on the diverse cultures, history and legacy of Europe in the most positive way."

The federation has canceled the 2022 Grand Slam, which was scheduled for Kazan in May.

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