International Judo Federation strips Putin of titles

Officials with the International Judo Federation on Sunday announced that the group is removing Russian President Vladimir Putin from his positions in the organization amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

>> Read more trending news

In a statement, officials with IJF said Putin and Russian businessman Arkady Rotenberg “have been removed from all positions held in the International Judo Federation.” The statement did not mention the conflict in Ukraine, although the group last week removed Putin as an honorary president and ambassador of the group “in light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine.”

The Russian president has long been a judo practitioner and was named judo champion of St. Petersburg several times in his youth, according to IJF. In 2004, he co-authored the book “Judo: History, Theory, Practice.” He holds a blackbelt in the sport.

Rotenberg has served as a development manager on the IJF executive committee since 2013, according to Reuters. He is a long-time friend of the Russian president, The Associated Press reported.

Sunday’s announcement came after officials with the World Taekwondo Federation last week revoked an honorary 9th dan black belt conferred years earlier to Putin in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“World Taekwondo strongly condemns the brutal attacks on innocent lives in Ukraine, which go against the World Taekwondo vision of ‘Peace is More Precious than Triumph’ and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance,” the group said in a statement. “World Taekwondo’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and we hope for a peaceful and immediate end to this war.”

On Wednesday, IJF announced it was canceling all judo competitions scheduled on Russian territory. Russian athletes will be allowed to compete in IJF events, although they will have to participate under the organization’s flag, logo and anthem and not under ones representing Russia.

“As sporting events and sport itself promote peace and solidarity worldwide, we consider that those athletes who participate in international sporting events are promoting peace and international solidarity,” IJF officials said in a statement.

“We encourage Russian athletes to pursue a dialogue with their judoka friends worldwide, to travel and to promote, at home and away, the Olympic values and the judo principles of mutual aid and prosperity.”