By Duncan Mackay

International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer (rights) signs a deal for the 2015 World Championships to be held in AstanaSeptember 28 - Kazakhstan's capital Astana have been awarded the 2015 World Judo Championships, it was announced today.

Contracts were officially signed following the opening day of the Judo Grand Prix in Almaty, the country's largest city and commercial capital. 

The official contract signing took place between Marius Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation (IJF), and Kenges Rakishev, head of the Kazakhstan Judo Federation.

The Championships had originally been awarded three years ago to Sao Paulo but the Brazilian city then withdrew, leaving the IJF to choose a new host. 

International Judo Federation President Marius Vizer is awarded the Tarlans medal by Kenges Rakishev, head of the Kazakhstan Judo FederationInternational Judo Federation President Marius Vizer is awarded the Tarlans medal by Kenges Rakishev, head of the Kazakhstan Judo Federation

Earlier Kazakhstan had won 11 medals in the Grand Prix, two gold, three silver and six bronze, and Vizer had also laid the first stone at the country's proposed new national training centre.

"I had three important meetings in Kazakhstan and they were with the Prime Minister, Chief of Protocol of the President of the Republic and with the Minister of Sports," said Vizer, who was awarded by Rakishev the Tarlans medal, first category.

"Many subjects were discussed including the Judo Grand Prix which will be held in the country for the next four years, a judo schools programme, the new national training centre and, of course, the 2015 edition of the World Championships.

"Kazakh judo has huge potential, especially with its new and young team led by its dynamic president, Mr. Kenges Rakishev.

"I wish them all the success they deserve and I am sure that the World Judo Championships will be a success.

"We have now two years to prepare it."

It will be the first time that the Championships have been held in Kazakhstan.

"I understand the responsibility that it represents to organise such big judo events and particularly the World Judo Championships, Astana 2015," said Rakishev.

Next year's World Championships are due to be held in Chelyabinsk in Russia.

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