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Putin offers himself for Russia's judo team

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Putin offers himself for Russia's judo team

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Russia’s action man Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been reinforcing his image with country’s judo team. At a coaching session in St Petersburg, the 57-year-old black belt took on several members of the squad who are half his age.

The coach looked ahead optimistically to the next Olympics to which Putin added: “If you need help, you can include me in the national team.”

Judo officials praised his technique and ruled out any suggestion that he might have been allowed to win.

Since becoming Prime Minister, the former KGB spy has been the centre of several carefully staged photo opportunities, showing off his physique and helping with tiger conservation, fuelling speculation that he might still be the kind of political animal who has set his sights on returning to the Presidency.