The official signature of the contracts for the first Judo Team Challenge Europe vs. Asia and the Judo Grand Slam 2014 took place in Saint-Petersburg during the World Combat Games.The contract was signed by Marius L. Vizer; IJF and SportAccord President, Vladimir Yakushev; Governor of Tyumen Region, Valentin Khabirov; Vice President of the Russian Judo Federation and Sergey Soloveychik; EJU President and Chairman of the World Combat Games. On the Same occasion the contract for organizing the Russian Grand Slam, in the city of Tyumen was also signed. During the presentation, the focus was put on the reinforcing the cooperation between the International Judo Federation, the European Judo Union and the Tyumen Region, which is getting more significant each year. The development of the Tyumen Judo Federation gets the strong support of the governor of the Region Vladimir Yakushev. One of the consequences of this cooperation will be the organization of the first Judo Team Challenge Europe vs. Asia, which will be held in Tyumen at the end of January 2014 (January 25th). A team of judoka from Europe challenge their opponents from Asia to fight: 7 women and 7 men among the best judoka in the world in each team. This top team event, which has grown from a previous Judo Hero Challenge meeting last year, is again sponsored by the company ECCO Ros. The producer of shoes is the perfect fit to establish this event contract, where also the region of Tyumen gives its support. Development of Judo in the Russian Regions IJF and SportAccord President Marius Vizer declared: “We have already organised several top events in the Tyumen Region, the last one being the World Masters, which took place last May. I am very happy that this signature ceremony could be held on the occasion of the World Combat Games. It has a real signification for all of us. “I really want to thank Mr. Yakushev for his very strong support to the development of judo in his region. The Challenge and the Grand Slam, will give new opportunities to support judo. The Tyumen Region does not only support the sport, but it also strongly support the education. This is particularly important to us. The perfect example is the construction of one of the most beautiful training centers in the world, which give the opportunity to more than 1,500 people to practice judo every week, from the youngster to the top athletes. “The challenge will be organised by the IJF in partnership with the European Judo Union, the Russian Judo Federation and the Tyumen Region. I am sure that it will be a successful event for the benefit of our sport, of the athletes and the entire local society”. Perfect Synergy between the IJF and the EJU EJU President Sergey Soloveychik underlined one more time the perfect synergy that exists between the IJF and the EJU: “I really want to thank Mr. Vizer and his team for supporting the idea of having such an event organized in one of the most dynamic Russian region. It is good for sports and for development. “We must present our deepest gratitude to the Governor of the Region, Mr. Yakushev, who puts a lot of effort to promote judo at all levels. The challenge will be one of the most spectacular competition ever. It is a team event with the best judo players in the world. We invite everybody to join us in Tyumen.” The Governor of the Tyumen Region, Vladimir Yakushev also warmly thanked Vizer as well as Mr. Soloveychik for the trust they put in the development of judo in his region: “It is a great responsibility to organize such big events and we will make them a success. In 2013, the World Masters were really well organized. we can all be proud of it.” During the press conference, Yakushev also answer to the question “Why do you need those big events in the Tyumen Region?”, by saying: “In Tyumen, we have already 12 institutions where judo is part of the curriculum and we have more than 5,000 judoka in the area. Most of them are young judoka. It is important that we give them the opportunity to dream and meet the bests of the bests. Every year we want to attract the top judo players. For us it is part of a large educational programme. Today people understand and love judo and judo has already become one to the top sports in the region. Judo is very popular and we want to reinforce that even more. If young judoka can identify them to national and international heroes, we can they that popularization is on its way.” The Vice President of the Russian Judo Federation, Valentin Khabirov, said: “Our gratitude goes to Mr. Vizer, who gives us once again the opportunity to organise a major IJF event on the Russian territory. As Mr. Vladimir Yakushev just said, the popularisation of judo over the whole Russian territory is our objective. We particularly want to develop our beloved sport in the regions and we will achieve that goal with the help of the IJF and its partners.” Tagir Khaybulaev (left), during the masterclass on the occasion of the World Combat Games, Saint-Petersburg 2013 The best athletes in the World Armen Bagdasarov, IJF Sports Director, then explained how the competition will be organised: “The first edition will be held in Tyumen. We will have two teams composed of the best judoka in the world in the seven categories, in men and women’s divisions, which means that each team will be composed of 14 athletes coming from various countries. In 2015, the event will be organised in an Asian country. The best athletes will participate in the event and the level, at the beginning of the new season will be extremely high.” The IJF President explained: “After the two editions, 2014 and 2015, we will evaluate the event but I am confident that it will continue and travel over many countries. We are believing that it will attract of lot of media attention and that the public will greatly appreciate the Challenge.” The conclusion of the ceremony and the press conference was given by Tagir Khaybulaev, Olympic and World Champion, who also took part in the press conference: “It is important for us, athletes, and for the public, that big events such as the Challenge or the Grand Slam, travel to the region, where many judoka are practicing. Thank you very much to the IJF and EJU for doing so. I am sure that those big events will attract all the judo fans and even more than that all sports lovers. Personally I would love to compete, especially because this first edition will be held in my home country, but no decision has been taken yet. It will be decided with my coach.” Grand Slam in Tyumen As it was mentioned several times during the signature ceremony and during the press conference, Tyumen will also be the host of the 2014 Grand Slam in Russia. One of the four Grand Slams in the world will now be held in Tyumen, the previous four years Moscow hosted the elite athletes in judo since 2009. For the following three years starting in 2014 Tyumen is the Russian city for the Grand Slam. The other cities for the Grand Slams are Paris, Baku and Tokyo.