Putin injures finger during judo sparring but plays hockey with Belarus leader anyway


Russia’s action-man president has injured his finger sparring with Olympic judo champions but nonetheless held negotiations with Belarus and played ice hockey on Friday.

Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, the long-serving president of Belarus, played a friendly match with officials and oligarchs including Gennady Timchenko, the energy magnate who is under US sanctions.

Mr Putin had hosted the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Sochi on Thursday for talks about US plans to withdraw from Syria, which he called a “positive step”. The day before he had been filmed skiing at a local resort with the president of Belarus and Mr Lukashenko’s “mini-me” son Nikolai. 

Having dealt with Thursday’s geopolitical affairs, Mr Putin, who trained in judo as a teenager and has co-authored several books about the sport, went to a training centre to practice with the national judo team.

The workout began with the slightly winded head of state high-stepping and somersaulting around the mat with the athletes, then moved on to a sparring session.

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