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Judo tournament for Policemen kicks off in Moscow


An unusual judo tournament was held in the Russian capital on Saturday.

Members of the police as well as competitors from the fire brigade, and military took to the mat to wrestle for the armed force's European crown.

The inaugural "Open Team" judo tournament was held in Moscow in 2007. Last year it became the European championships and the number of people taking part every year is growing.

This year, policemen from 16 countries flocked to the capital to wrestle on the tatami of the Dynamo Arena.

Judo plays a very important role in the training of army and police personnel. The goals of the event are to encourage co-operation between police from different countries, and to promote judo as a sport.

But it's also dedicated to the memory of colleagues, who have died in the line of duty.

“We commemorate all the policemen who have died on duty. And it's important in terms of bringing up young judo players. That's why I think there should be more events like this,” Sergey Soloveychik, the president of the European Judo Union.

The policemen, who are at risk every day at work, devote themselves to judo with true passion. And the home crowd enjoyed the dominance of the Russian police, who finished first and second.

“I'm satisfied with the result. We have a good team,” says Mikhail Starkov, participant.

The tournament may appear non-competitive as the participants are technically amateur. But the tension in every bout is very high. Appealing to the spectators who'll probably ensure the Dynamo Arena will be packed again, next year.


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