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MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold in Kazan (the capital of Tatarstan republic) on Friday a meeting of the Presidential Council for Physical Culture and Sports, as well as visit judo competitions, the Kremlin press service reported.
The Presidential Council’s discussion agenda includes "the issues related to the development of Russian ice hockey, hosting the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship by Moscow in 2016 and the national team’s training for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang (South Korea)," the press service said. The meeting will be attended by the leadership of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, ministers, governors and representatives of the business community.
"On the same day, the president will visit (in Kazan) the European Judo Championships opening ceremony," the statement says.
The IIHF World Championship will be held in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the period from May 6 to 22. The matches in Moscow will be held at VTB Ice Palace that is the home arena for the Dynamo club of the Continental Hockey League. The Russian national team has played here at the Channel One Cup (former Izvestia Trophy) last December.
The IIHF World Championship matches in St. Petersburg will be held at the Yubileiny Sports Palace that has been reconstructed for the tournament. In April, the Russian national team played matches there with the Norwegian team within the Euro Ice Hockey Challenge.
According to Russian Sports Minister, Chairman of the IIHF World Championship Organizing Committee Vitaly Mutko, the forthcoming tournament "will leave a good legacy." The sports minister called the World Championship a most important and extraordinary event that "should be held at the highest level." President of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation Vladislav Tretyak, said for his part he is confident that the IIHF World Championship "will attract attention to our country." "We are very pleased that the International Ice Hockey Federation has allowed us to host this tournament", Tretyak said.
Russia previously hosted the IIHF World Championship in 2007 and before that - in 2000. The Soviet Union host of tournament four times.
The European Judo Championships tournament, which the Russian president will visit on Friday, is the final qualifier for the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. A total of 477 athletes from 46 countries will take part the competitions in Kazan that are held from April 21 to 24.
The Russian leader himself practices judo and sambo (Russian style self-defense) since the age of 11: he has the mastery certificate. While in office, Putin has repeatedly visited competitions in these types of wrestling.
The president has long been fond of downhill skiing, and in recent years he has also taken an interest in ice hockey, regularly playing amateur matches of the Night Hockey League.