Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Putin.jpg
Photograph: EPA/ALEXEY NIKOLSKY / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

Russian President Vladimir Putin grappled with the Italian head coach of Russia's national judo team on Friday and gave him Russian citizenship.

Putin, a renowned judoist, practised throwing coach Ezio Gamba several times at a training session of the national team in Sochi, the media agency Life News reported with a video of the event.

Later in the day, the Kremlin's press service said Putin had signed a decree to give Gamba Russian citizenship.

Gamba, who won gold at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, has trained the Russian national team since 2008. Under his guidance, the Russian men's judo team topped the sport's gold medal table at the 2012 Olympics in London.

In 2013, Gamba was awarded Russia's Order of Friendship, a decoration reserved for foreign nationals, for his contribution to the development of judo in the country.

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