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KAZAN, July 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has no objections to trying his hand at water polo.
He said it on Friday as he met with the Russian national water polo team at the Kazan Arena stadium.
In the course of the conversation, the athletes came up with an unexpected proposal.
"All of us watched you marvelously play hockey," a female athlete said. "And would you like to try yourself out in water polo?"
"Water polo?" Putin said with a pinch of amazement. "I hope I won't sink. But if you support me I'll be delighted to try my hand at it, indeed."
He said he was delighted with the beauty of the sport and called water polo "a very athletic game"
"This is for sure a beautiful sport," Putin said. "I failed to estimate volleyball in due time, for instance, but then I looked at how the guys were playing and I was just struck by it."
"I came up to one of hunks and asked him how he managed to do it," he said. "And what I heard from him was, well, that's my job."
Putin said he thought water polo players both men and women also had a nice job.
"I'll try and learn how this is done," he said.
Members of the Russian team applauded the president, telling him all the foreign guests were "shocked" by the quality of sports facilities in Kazan, using the word "shock" in the Russian colloquial sense, which stands for the utmost degree of amazement. "Let them stay spellbound by this shock while you'll be winning your medals," Putin answered jokingly.
The athletes then organized an impromptu autograph session, asking Putin to put his signature on their uniforms. Putin seemed to enjoy this procedure, which took several minutes.
He voiced the hope he would ask the team members for autographs after the competition.