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Putin says he prefers to have opponents rather than enemies both in life and sport

August 10, 2014, 2:44 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, August 10. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the fifth annual Plotforma S-70 international sambo championship in Sochi on Saturday.

Apart from Russia, which gained most victories, the tournament was attended by wrestlers from Russia, the United States, Lithuania, Brazil, Kazakhstan and France. In his speech after the tournament Putin said he preferred to have opponents rather than enemies both in life and sport.

”Of course, we always support our athletes in Russia. But it does not mean that we regard other wrestlers as aliens. There can be rivals on the ring and mat but no enemies. This is what sport has always taught us and I wish it could be the same in real life,” Putin said.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliev watched the tournament together with Putin. The Russian President thanked his Azerbaijani counterpart for pushing a decision to include sambo in the programme of the first European games to be hosted by the Azeri capital Baku in 2015.

Meanwhile, the three presidents are expected to have a trilateral meeting to discuss growing tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian populated region that has been claimed both by Armenia and Azerbaijan since 1991.


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