Judo Grand Prix Tbilisi 2014 begins

Georgian PM gives a speech on the opening ceremony of the tournament. Photos by PM press-office
Agenda.ge, 21 Mar 2014 - 19:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

International judo stars have arrived in Georgia as the country hosts one of the largest events on the international Judo calendar.

Tbilisi is hosting the second International Judo Federation (IJF) Grand Prix of the year as 192 athletes from 24 countries prepare for three days of competition at the city's Sports Palace.

The Grand Prix opening ceremony was held this evening by the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibahsvili, Sport Minister Levan Kipiani, the head of IJF Marius Wieser and Georgian Judo Federation President David Kevkhishvili.

Prime Minister Garibashvili said this was the first time the high profile tournament was being held in the Georgian capital.

"It is a great honor for us to hold this tournament. Judo is a very popular sport in Georgia, maybe because it expresses the fighting spirit of Georgians. This sport has a long tradition in Georgia [and] we have had many great achievements," he said. 

"We are doing everything for the development of Judo and create good conditions to the wrestlers. Judo is very important for us and that is why we increased funding for the athletes and for judo in total,” Garibashvili said in his opening speech.

He also noted  it was important Georgian athletes competed against leading international judo competitors.

Wieser congratulated Georgia for hosting the prestigious tournament.

Meanwhile today was not a very successful day for the Georgian sportsmen. Only one athlete - Lukhum Chkvimiani - managed to gain a bronze medal out eight male and three female competitors. However Georgia’s leading judo experts, including 2012 Olympic Champion Lasha Shavdatuashvili, will compete tomorrow.

The competition will end on March 23.