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Critical situation in Georgia requires solution

24 May 2018 20:50

   IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
20130427_Budapest_David Kevkishvili

Among the participants of the Grand Prix no athletes from Georgia at the first Olympic Qualification event. What’s happening in the judo nation that won three World Team titles and celebrated two World Champions and Olympic Champions in 2004, 2008 and 2012. three consecutive Games.

Georgia won European medals since the foundation in 1993 each year except for 2018 in Tel Aviv. A disaster for the ambitious athletes. Despite the poor performance Georgia is working hard on its future and David Kevkishvili who is President since 2013 has gained a lot of credit and has the support of IJF President Marius Vizer. However he is currently under a huge internal pressure to leave his position. Athletes are striking and the country seems to be divided by politics, although it Is used to intrigues, not only in sports but especially in the world of sports the two parties should be able to sit among the table and leave the fights to the tatami only.

No fights at all on the tatami although part of the judo players simply continue their usual training both in Georgia and abroad at training camps. Also some of the major athletes continued to stay in shape for the forthcoming Olympic qualification period.

Kevkishvili, who won the World Team titles twice himself hasn’t used the media so far and rather wants to sit around the table. He set up a number of projects over years such as the 2020 Olympic Project where, with help of sponsors, athletes can earn money via a club system when they have a top 8 position at national and international events. The 2020 Project includes efforts for new judoka who get training on the tatami as well as outside with more than just fighting, also kata, seminars, learning about psychology of judo and give the new generation more brain food than the older generation coping with their future after training for so many years without a place for study.

Georgia set up the IJF Academy with 150 Georgian coaches. More than 40 new clubs opened and projects with young children and judo at kindergarten have started. The new generation of successful U18 and U21 talents are monitored not to smoke, take alcohol or even drive a car until they are grown ups.

The ambition doesn’t stop in Georgia and Kevkishvili is determined to stay in his position and start new projects. Head coach Irakli Tsirekidze took the responsibility after the disastrous result in Tel Aviv and stepped down, but it’s not enough for some of the top athletes like Varlam Liparteliani who strongly criticised Kevkishvili. Liparteliani who was in the Olympic Programme for years is still one of the absolute idols in international judo. Despite his amount of second places, he stands for his role as frontrunner in this battle. Although Liparteliani and other to patheltes benefit from the amounts consisting of salary, performance bonusses and sponsor money made available by the government, the federation and sponsors.

Even a social media offensive was started with lots of support for the Georgian athletes. Abroad this battle is considered as a sad story with no winners. Perhaps a meeting with the main players in this game can solve the decision as the government proposes. Soon a new international coach will be appointed, if he gets the support of the majority of the athletes as not everybody is on the same page with Liparteliani, Tchrikishvili and Shavdatuashvili as some of the major characters in this unique situation in one of the major judo countries in the world. Georgia is even looming for some women to take part in the Olympic Mixed team event at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Although Georgian atletes never medalled at any Grand Prix in China since 2011 (only Levan Zhorzholiani won a silver medal), this Georgian dead deserves a solution soon. Everybody supports Georgian judo, but it’s not about the victim, the winners, but about a needful solution.

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Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • David Kevkhishvili (GEO) - German Open Sindelfingen (2009, GER) - © David Finch,
  • David Kevkhishvili (GEO) - Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro (2016, BRA) - © Gabi Juan, Hajime Judo
  • Varlam Liparteliani (GEO) - Grand Slam Düsseldorf (2018, GER) - © Klaus Müller, Watch:

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