By Mike Rowbottom
April 22 - Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a judo black belt 6th Dan, plans to take time out from business this week to support his compatriots at the European Judo Championships in Vienna.
Putin, is due to be in the Austrian capital to seal a gas deal with the government, and he will then turn his attention to the sporting event taking place there from Thursday April 22 to Sunday April 25.
The Russian team has spent the past fortnight training at an EJU Olympic Training Camp at the British Judo Performance Institute in Dartford.
The squad is replete with renowned fighters including world ranked no.3 Alim Gadanov (-66kg), world ranked no.2 Kirill Denisov (-90kg) and fourth-ranked Mansur Isaev (-73kg).
Russian head coach Ezio Gamba said: "We want to win European Championship medals; we’ll go there with two teams, one for European and one for individual."
Meanwhile, EJU Training Camp hosts Britain will field a 10-strong team at the European Championships.
Head coach Patrick Roux said: "I expect to see some consistent performances and much of the same good results from the team as they have recently produced."
Both teams preparations have been hampered by the volcanic ash cloud which led the Russian’s to travel by train from England to Brussels and then by mini buses to Vienna while Britain elected to make a 16-hour coach trip.
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