News24

Putin, Seagal team up for sports

2013-03-13 22:38

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday teamed up with American action movie actor Steven Seagal to promote the Soviet-style regime of rigorous physical training for Russian schoolchildren.

Accompanied by the black-clad star of "Under Siege" and "Above the Law", Putin, himself an avid sportsman, toured a newly-built complex at a prominent sambo martial arts training centre in Moscow.

After attending several training sessions, the Russian strongman said too many Russian children were sickly, noting they should take up sports to be able to defend themselves - and the country.

"We should not have any children who, as they say, sit on the bench during physical education classes. Everyone should practise sports, everyone without exception," Putin said at the Sambo-70 sports complex.

Sambo, a mixture of judo and wrestling, was the official in-house martial art of the KGB security services, which Putin practised before switching to judo.

Saying that two-thirds of Russian teenagers suffered from chronic illnesses by the age of 14, Putin called on the government to reintroduce the Soviet-era national fitness programme that used to be known by its abbreviation GTO, or Ready for Labour and Defence.

"Children should become strong, they should be healthy, love sports and have an opportunity to practise them, should know how to defend themselves, their loved ones, their family," Putin said in remarks released by the Kremlin.

"Ultimately, they should be able to defend their motherland."

Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian reporters that the Russian president and Seagal have been friends "for a long time" and regularly meet.

Earlier in the day, the two men had breakfast at Putin's residence outside Moscow, Peskov was quoted as saying.

In 2010, Putin, then the country's prime minister, visited a championship match of ultimate fighting in the company of Hollywood star Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Comments
  • nickholmes - 2013-03-13 23:21

    That pic is not going to help his short man syndrome.

      Kari Pentikainen - 2013-03-14 00:21

      Must be promoting A fast food franchise . But looks like a fat man's paradise .

  • Sheilan - 2013-03-14 07:53

    I'm sorry but this is f-ing cool! Ja: "Ultimately, they should be able to defend their motherland," does make you think about what his actual motive must be but in the meantime, he's getting kids physically active.

      Diana Gill - 2013-03-14 09:39

      Still better for the kids than to just sit by computer, defeat virtual monsters and stuff their faces with french fries.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-14 11:16

      Diana, the kids in the US will just keep playing their violent video games and hope they can get the next drone operator position!

      Diana Gill - 2013-03-14 14:40

      Fidel so far they simply getting inspired to go and execute their classmates.

  • Diana Gill - 2013-03-14 09:41

    Looks like the first prize in scary beards competition goes away from Chuck Norris.

      Anthony Varekamp - 2013-03-14 11:05

      . Yes, even the real life mafia in the US, is scared of this thug!! But, for Putin, ANYTHING fort some cheap publicity!!!

  • Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-14 11:15

    "After attending several training sessions, the Russian strongman" Does the term 'strongman' mean that he has 'strength of character', moral integrity and loyalty to his people!

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