By Nick Butler

Russian President Vladimir Putin being awarded with his honorary black belt by Chungwon Choue © World Taekwondo FederationNovember 14 - Russian President Vladimir Putin has been awarded with a uniform and a "ninth dan" black belt certificate by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) President Chungwon Choue in recognition of his work in developing the sport in Russia.

St Petersburg hosted the World Combat Games which included taekwondo last month, while 
Russia has formally declared interest in either Moscow, St. Petersburg or Kazan hosting a WTF Taekwondo Grand Prix over the next three years.

Russia is also among the most competitive taekwondo nations in Europe and won two Olympic bronze medals at London 2012 courtesy of men's flyweight Aleksey Denisenko and women's heavyweight Anastasia Baryshnikova.

The presentation was made at a ceremony held Seoul during President Putin's one-day state visit to South Korea to promote plans for a new Asian-European rail trade route. 

Somewhat modestly, Putin that he was "not sure if he deserves"  one of the highest distinctions in the sport, but suggested that the event be seen as a promotion of "this beautiful martial art".

He thanked Choue for his ongoing commitment to the development of sports before revealing that he is "actively supporting the development of martial arts, including taekwondo, in Russia" 

Vladimir Putin is more well known as a practitioner of another martial art in judo © Getty ImagesVladimir Putin is more well known as a practitioner of another martial art in judo ©AFP/Getty Images

Putin is more well known as a practitioner in judo, where he also holds a black belt and in 2008 released a martial arts video called Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin.

Because he only holds an "eighth grade dan" he is now ranked officially higher in taekwondo than he is in judo. 

He joins other high profile figures, including the US president Barack Obama, South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak, and the United Nations secretary general Ban-Ki Moon, in receiving the honorary award. 

Following the ceremony, Choue explained the value of Putin's work. 

"We are so grateful to President Putin for the commitment he has shown in promoting taekwondo in Russia and we are delighted to hear that he wants to continue to develop the sport in his country in the future," he said. 

"Russia is an incredibly important country for our sport and we are sure that, with the President's endorsement and support, it will continue to evolve rapidly over the coming years.

"As we celebrate the 40th year of the WTF, we can be hugely proud of the progress we have made.

"However, we know that there is always more that can be done and we remain dedicated to ensuring that people from all over the world can enjoy and have access to taekwondo."