He was once hailed as the sport's "perfect ambassador." Now, however, Vladimir Putin has become at least a temporary pariah in his beloved world of judo. "In light of the ongoing war conflict in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr. Vladimir Putin's status as Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation," the IJF said in a statement Sunday. The 69-year-old Putin has a blackbelt in the sport and even authored a book called Judo: History, Theory, Practice, reports Reuters.
Putin has been honorary president since 2008 and was called "the perfect ambassador for our sport" by the IJF back in 2014, notes AFP. The AP points out two aspects of the IJF statement that might sting for the Russian leader: The IJF didn't mince words as other sports bodies have done in referring to the conflict as a "war." Also, the honorary post was the most senior position in the world of sports for Putin, who likes to famously show off his athletic feats. (A more consequential penalty: The West is cutting off some Russian banks from the SWIFT economic system.)