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World Judo suspends Putin over invasion of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin

The International Judo Federation has suspended Russian president Vladimir Putin as its honorary president.

Boxing’s world governing bodies the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO say they will not sanction any title fights in Russia.

Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina will donate prize money to aid efforts.

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The world number 15 says the money will be used to “support the army and humanitarian needs and help them to defend you, our country”.

At the Fencing World Cup in Cairo, Ukraine’s men’s foil team refused to fence against Russia on Sunday.

“This is our protest against the war. We cannot fence against them while our families are in danger, and everybody is in danger,” said the team.

Meanwhile, Premier League football club Chelsea said the situation in Ukraine was “horrific and devastating”.

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The statement came after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the Russia billionaire who is believed to be close to Putin, was criticised for not mentioning the war when he announced he was handing over “stewardship and care” of the club.

Putin is a blackbelt in judo and was awarded the eighth dan, one of the sport’s highest honours, by the International Judo Federation (IJF) in 2012. He has also co-authored a book titled Judo: History, Theory, Practice.

“In light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr Vladimir Putin’s status as Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation,” the IJF said.

Announcing their move, the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO said: “Just as this war has put a stop to boxing in Ukraine, our organisations will not sanction fights in Russia until further assessment of the situation.”

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