All Russian federations now face one main task. It is necessary to break through the wall of total oblivion by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and start qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Each sport has its own nuances, but three show similar details. For example, if most federations and athletes start qualifying in 2023, then similar tournaments are already underway in tennis, cycling and judo. Athletes who have scored the required number of points according to the results of the competition throughout the current cycle will get to the Olympics. The Russians, due to the suspension from international competitions, are now giving a very solid head start to their competitors.
What is the situation in judo? Our athletes were sanctioned. However, the leadership of the Russian Federation has serious influence. At the same time, the head of the IJF, Marius Vizer, has significant authority and was not noticed in particular love for the IOC. At one time, he even tried to oppose the Sport-Accord organization to him. True, then Vizer was immediately harshly pulled back, making it clear that they would not tolerate competitors. from Russia to international starts in a neutral status. And at the end of June, the team performed at the Grand Slam tournament in Ulaanbaatar.And how she performed – just triumphant! Athletes who got bored during the competitive break proved that it was not in vain that they shed sweat during intensive training. The Russians won five gold medals, two silver and two bronze medals. They also won in the team standings, ahead of even the founders of judo, the Japanese!
However, this performance today remains the only qualifying start of the Russians in the selection for the Olympics.
br>Sanctions as a new challenge
On September 21, the IJF Executive Committee, under pressure from the IOC, nevertheless decided not to allow athletes to participate in international starts until January 2023. Athletes missed the October World Championships, where success could bring a lot of points. The basis for the verdict was unsportsmanlike blackmail from the Judo Federation of Ukraine (FDU). She threatened to boycott if the Russians were allowed to compete in Tashkent.At the end of September there were changes in the leadership of the Russian Judo Federation (FDR). Sergei Soloveichik replaced the long-term president of the organization, Vasily Anisimov. He served several terms as head of the European Judo Union (EJU), vice president of the FDR and the IJF. The new president in a conversation with a correspondent then noted that “nothing changes in the federation.” Our priorities are the Olympic Games and the development of mass judo.
The continuity of the strategic line is visible even now. As well as previously established contacts with influential figures in the world of judo.
"We maintain good relations with the International Judo Federation and almost all national federations, – said Soloveichik. — We count on their support in the performance of the Russian team at the 2024 Olympics. We want to start performing at international competitions from January 2023 and set ourselves such a task. Now we skip rating tournaments, it's not scary. This year, as you know, you can get no more than 50% of rating points. Our guys and girls, members of the national team, are strong enough to make up for lost time next year.
The head of the FDR believes that the athletes are worthy during a forced pause. They can compete with the best judokas in the world.
“Our athletes perceive this situation as an additional challenge,” the interlocutor emphasized. “As obstacles that must be overcome. We are confident in them and that the spirit of the guys cannot be broken. Therefore, they train, prepare and are determined to perform. it is even more worthy to compete in competitions and score points for the Olympic rating. if in January the team is not allowed to fight for tickets? Apparently, a line of action has already been developed in case of such complications. And the activity of the new FDR president at the head of the IJF is a significant help in this matter."My long-term work as the President of the European Judo Union helps in establishing international relations, – said Soloveichik. — We have very good relations with the presidents of the national federations and the IJF. We understand how we need to build a dialogue. Believe me, we will do everything in our power to ensure that the team gets to the Olympic Games".
The factor that most foreign athletes have there is no prejudice against Russians.We write off and call up all our colleagues and continue to communicate,” Soloveichik added. – Those athletes who are real champions and real world leaders, of course, understand that in the absence of Russian judokas, their victories will not be so significant. I believe that the entire world sports community adheres to this position. Weak judokas, perhaps, rejoice at our dismissal. And the strong need competition. So that they can show real strength".
The interlocutor of the agency believes that sharp attacks by representatives of a number of countries are not an expression of their own views, but a consequence of the political situation.
“I believe that those leaders of national federations who express some kind of negative opinion regarding the participation of our athletes in competitions do not adhere to their position, but to the opinion of the governments of these countries. This also applies to statements from Ukraine. I believe that they are forced to do this “, – summed up the President of the FDR.
“We must use all methods and chances to continue performing on the international arena,” said the four-time winner of the world championships. “For our athletes to score the necessary points for the rating and be sure to get to the 2024 Olympic Games. We must consistently and clearly adhere to the position of sports outside of politics. I would encourage all international federations to think about the foundation on which the ideas of the Olympic Games were founded. >Successful performance at the tournament in Ulaanbaatar allowed the team leaders to create a solid backlog in the dispute over tickets to Paris. If we analyze in detail the data of the Olympic rating, it becomes clear that there are no reasons for serious frustration.For example, the winners of competitions among men Inal Tasoev (weight category over 100 kilograms), Mikhail Igolnikov (up to 90 kg), Makhmadbek Makhmadbekov (up to 73 kg) and Matvey Kanikovsky (up to 100 kg) scored 500 points each and occupy places in the top 12 . At the moment they are successfully selected. Like the winner in Mongolia Madina Taimazova (up to 70 kg), who is in 10th position.
There is also Daria Kurbonmamadova (up to 57 kg, 350 points) in 16th place, Alesya Kuznetsova in 17th place (up to 52 kg, 350) and Yago Abuladze (up to 66 kg, 250) in 24th place. And this is without participation in the World Cup. There, the main competitors could profit (and profit!) to their heart's content with fat “pieces” from the luxurious rating “pie”.
However, there is an important subtlety in judo, which allows athletes who are still beyond the cut-off line to count on participation in the Games. The fact is that at the Olympics in individual competitions, each country will traditionally be represented by only one judoka in each weight category. Which automatically crosses out other applicants from any team. As an example, consider the situation in weight up to 48 kg.Russian Sabina Gilyazova scored 180 points at the Grand Slam tournament and is on the 32nd line. Above her in the ranking are four Japanese, three Spaniards, two athletes each from Mongolia, Italy, Turkey, China, Israel and France. Which automatically, although now invisible, raises Gilyazov 11 positions up. This significantly increases the chances of ultimate success.
Other Russians who did not perform very well in Mongolia have similar opportunities. As well as those leading athletes who have not yet started the selection. Even if our team does not resume performances in January, it will not be critical. Missing one (maybe even two) tournaments will not be a point of no return. It is important to take part in tournaments in which the highest number of rating points will be played. Including May World Championship in Qatar and November European Championship in France.
Qualification for the Games will end on June 23, 2024 and one ticket in each weight category will be awarded to the national representatives of the countries ranked from first to 17- e. In addition, another 100 quotas will be additionally distributed on a continental basis. The IJF will then give away any unused quotas. And another 15 places will be allocated to judokas by decision of a special commission.
The Putin Factor
Speaking about the problems and prospects of our athletes in the context of the Olympic Games, one cannot ignore the fact that judo is one of the favorite sports of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The state leader in his youth was engaged in sambo and judo, won the championships of Leningrad in these sports. , and in 2012 awarded him a high eighth dan. At the same time, the head of the organization, Vizer, emphasized:
“It is a great honor that among us there is a high-ranking person with such a reputation and such a status. President Putin is a high representative of the values of judo in the world.”
Yes, at the end of February this year, the IJF, under pressure from the IOC, suspended Putin's powers as honorary president and ambassador of the organization. But there can hardly be any doubt that after the relaxation of international tension they will be restored. Because Vizer highly appreciates friendly relations with Putin and will not break them. The highly experienced functionary has great respect for the Russian leader and is well aware that the interest of such a political figure significantly increases the status and influence of the sport in the world.
Vladimir Putin is not only happy to communicate with Russian judoists , but also attends major tournaments in his spare time. For example, in 2012 he flew to London and personally watched the victory of Tagir Khaibulaev in the final of the Olympic Games. And two years later, the President of the country visited the World Championships, held in Chelyabinsk. which has been repeatedly emphasized publicly. And such an influence of a world-class leader on the first persons of the international sports movement can significantly tip the scales towards allowing Russians to continue qualifying for the Olympics in Paris.
By the way, the word “judo” is translated as a soft or flexible way . It is this principle that our national federation adheres to in its strategy.