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Georgian judoka strike for resignation of President Kevkishvili

23 May 2018 16:20

 Vestnik Kavkaza by Malkhaz Tsulukiani    Emmeric Le Person

This morning, the building of the country's Judo Federation has been in the focus of the Georgian media and the public. Dozens of muscular guys blocked the entrance and told the reporters that they represent the Georgian national judo teams. Among them were eminent athletes who won a number of medals at competitions of the highest level.

The judokas demanded a meeting with Judo Federation president David Kevkhishvili, arguing that an agreement on the talks was reached the day before, but Kevkhishvili deceived them by not appearing in the federation's building to meet with the well-deserved athletes. The judokas were so offended by this that they broke into the building at first, then into the empty office of the Federation's president, and took out the owner's seat, throwing it at the nearest trash can in front of the puzzled journalists.

"The act of throwing out the president's chair" was broadcast on all the TV stations, but judokas were not satisfied. Having returned to the building, they pounded the entrance to Kevkhishvili's office, saying that they would not allow him to return to his position. However, Davit Kevkhishvili does not intend to resign, and a physical obstacle in the form of a boarded-up door contain no legal consequences for his authority.

What's the Georgian judokas' charge against their president? The athletes claim that the Federation's leadership does not allocate sufficient funds for training, reduces salaries and bonuses to judokas, as well as appoints their entourage as coaches for the national team. The morning action was also attended by members of the women's judo team, but they did not take active part in the action.

This confrontation in the judo federation shocked the society. Judo is the pride of Georgia. The country's first Olympic champions won gold medals in this sports. Judo is fantastically popular among young people and teenagers. In the world, Georgian judo enjoys well-deserved authority, promoting the country in the international arena. Therefore, the public demands from the authorities to intervene in the situation and "not to embarrass Georgia in the world sports." The problem is many members of parliament from the Georgian Dream ruling coalition are former athletes. Some of them enjoy "bonds of friendship" with David Kevkhishvili. Others sympathize with the athletes, considering their demands legitimate and understandable.

Such a situation won't last long, because of ruthless competition in the world judo, and judoists get out of shape quickly. Deputy head of the parliamentary committee on sports, legendary judoka Shota Habareli warned that the stubbornness of Kevkhishvili and the forces behind him, as well as the ongoing "strike" of judokas refusing to train, create a real threat that the country will not enter the forthcoming World Judo Championships for the first time in history, and Georgian athletes will not just have time to win medals, but even Olympic licenses.

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  • Lasha Shavdatuashvili (GEO) - European Championships Kazan (2016, RUS) - © Emmeric Le Person

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