Putin wants on the Russian national judo team

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Black belt Putin offers to join Russian judo team:
Black belted Russian leader Vladimir Putin has offered to join the national judo team after showing off his martial arts skills to members of the squad.

The 57-year-old prime minister made the proposal at a special coaching session on Saturday aired on state television, adding to his carefully-crafted macho image.

Putin, who many observers believe is still paramount leader despite standing down as president last year, entered the hall of St Petersburg's School of Sport Mastery dressed in a white judogi and black belt, to applause from the assembled squad.

After bowing, the former KGB spy went onto the mats, throwing squad members half his age and even tackling the chief trainer, Olympic Gold medallist Ezio Gamba.

Then, over tea and cakes, Putin made the suggestion. "If you need direct help, you can include me in the team," he told the trainer, an Italian who won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
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