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Georgian Judokas Resume Protests against Federation President

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, May 23
Georgian National Judo Team has resumed protest rallies against the Judo Federation President, Davit Kevkhishvili.

The judokas arrived at the federation headquarters on May 22 and demanded meeting Kevkhishvili or any responsible person, who would answer their questions but the president did not appear.

The protesters nailed the office door of Davit Kevkhishvili and took his chair near the garbage bin.

Georgian National Judo Team members accuse the current President of misuse of funds, saying the coaches were asked to return 10% of their salaries and bonuses back to the federation fund.

They also said that Kevkhishvili must resign, noting that he fails to fulfill his duties and cannot establish effective communication with the athletes or the coaches.

The captain of the national judo team, Varlam Liparteliani says the federation is not functioning properly, adding none of the responsible persons can be found in the building.

“We will not stop our protest unless Kevkhishvili resigns. We call on our supporters to come and stand by our side,” the sportsmen said.

Deputy Sports Committee Chair of the parliament, Shota Khabareli says the protest of the judokas is legitimate, adding Kevkhishvili should quit his post.

Khabareli explains that judokas are refusing to train or participate in international competitions and this negatively affects the country’s image.

He also says that the federation president’s decision to fire the coaches, after the national team failed to win even one medal at the recent European Championship, was a “wrong decision.”

“The responsibility over the current developments lies on Kevkhishvili and he should resign. There are too many questions which were not answered. I take the side of the judokas. Kevkhishvili fired successful coaches and employed his friends instead. This led the federation to crisis,” Khabareli stated.

The Deputy Chair of Sports Committee says this issue should be urgently discussed by the special commission, created at the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Georgian national team started boycotting the federation president on May 4. On May 10, an extraordinary congress of the federation was held in order to discuss the current developments, however, no agreement was reached.

According to judokas, they raised some acute issues at the meeting but no one paid attention to them after which they left the congress in protest.

Kevkhishvili refuses to resign, saying he is a legitimate president and will not quit. He says that the protests of judokas are orchestrated by some political forces.