Politicized Sport and Threats from Governmental Officials
09 August, 2012
Politicized Sport and Threats from Governmental Officials


How an Olympian furtively returned to Georgia

An unprecedented incident took place in London which is gripped by Olympic fever. A Georgian Olympian judo player Betkil Shukvani accuses the Georgian Authorities of political persecution.


“They did not forgive me that before leaving for the Olympics, I visited Bidzina Ivanishvili and promised him to dedicate my victory to him. If the ruling political force stays in power after the elections, I’ll leave the National Judo Team,” – says Shukvani, who failed to win

the award for his country in the last minute.

It should be noted that Georgian Journal received a letter from Vano Chkhartishvili, former official of Shevardnadze era and later a member of the Saakashvili team. It turns out he was a first hand witness to the oppression unleashed against our Olympian in London. Below we present the entire press-release sent to us from Chkhartishvili’s Press Center:

Vano Chkhartishvili offers help to threatened Georgian Olympian at London 2012

Mr. Vano Chkhartishvili, Georgian businessman living in London has offered to help Betkil Shukvani, after the Georgian Olympic star in judo claimed that he had been threatened by Georgia’s Deputy Sports Minister Giorgi Udesiani. The Minister arrived at the Olympic Village in London with a group of men and wanted to ‘talk’ to Mr Shukvani, who had publicly voiced support for the opposition group, Georgian Dream.

Mr Shukvani fled the village fearing for his safety and secretly returned to Tbilisi where he recounted being intimidated by other athletes when he boarded the plane on the outward journey from Tbilisi to London.

Mr Chkhartishvili said, “I am very disappointed to hear about the intimidation of a Georgian Olympian. This is a time to support our sports people who are flying the flag for Georgia at London 2012. It is another example of intolerance by the Government of any kind of opposition.

“Clearly Georgia has no hope of ever entering the European Union and joining the family of democratic nations whilst we hear such stories of intimidation. A mature democracy is tolerant of different views and opinions and welcomes diversity. It is embarrassing to hear about Government officials visiting sports people in London to argue politics with them.

“It is no coincidence that Betkil’s judo match is the only event involving a Georgian not to be televised by the state media in Georgia. It is an indictment of the tight control of the media by the Government that they are so petty to refuse to air the performance of a Georgian at the world’s most important sporting event.

“Given the level of intimidation against Betkil, I will do all that I can to help him so that he can concentrate on his sporting career, without fear of reprisals. If he wishes to speak out, he should be allowed to speak out.”

Betkil Shukvani: “I saw Gia Udesiani, President of Shooting Sports Federation, first in the airport. He was gazing at me aggressively and provocatively, swearing loudly towards Georgian Dream in an attempt to insult and incite me to respond. Guys advised me to disregard him. So did I. Having no official status in the Georgian delegation, he nevertheless managed to approach and insult me in London before the play. I was extremely tensed. Add to it, referees behaved dishonestly. I was scoring high but given low scores instead. In the second competition my finger started to bleed. On such occasions, fight should be suspended to allow treatment of the injured sportsman. The referee however did not suspend the play. All these broke me psychologically and eventually I lost to my rival. I approached Georgian Sports Minister Lado Vardzelashvili and asked him to stand by my rights. “You too have seen how they oppressed me,” – I said. He did not spare even a reply for me. I left him unnerved. I locked myself in the room for 10 hours when a member of the Georgian delegation visited me to inform that drunken Udesiani wanted to see me down in the hall together with ten other men. In another second, Udesiani himself called him on the phone and, swearing to my person, shouted at him to bring me down quickly. What do you think my meeting with him and ten guys wound mean? So I preferred to go away peacefully. I packed up and went down to the first floor. On seeing Udesiani in the hall with accompanying people, I went back and made it into the yard through a window on the second floor. Then my Croatian friend helped me to buy a ticket. This is how I furtively returned to Georgia.

P.S. This incident stirred up serious debates with foul words in social networks. The subject of the criticism and swearing was basically Sports Minister Lado Vardzelashvili who accompanied Georgian sportsmen in London. A considerable portion of the public even demanded via the internet to dismiss the Minister. Yet, the Authorities have not reacted at all. Thus, the Sports Minister remains on his post and continues his work just like Gia Udesiani does, whose behavior became known to almost entire world.


Other Stories
International observers about the presidential election in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
First Ladies of Independent Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia. It was the last election in which the president will be selected by popular vote.
Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
Deadline for the second round of presidential elections in Georgia is December 2
Presidential elections were held on the 28th of October in Georgia. None of the candidates managed to get majority of votes, so the second round of elections is to be appointed.
The USA National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Georgia
National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton visited Georgia today.
People are detained at the Cannabis Festival
Today, Georgian political movement Girchi holds an event in the Dedaena Park called the Cannabis Festival.
Top safest countries and Georgia is among them - new survey says
Georgia is among the safest countries in the world. This fact is substantiated by various surveys and researches.
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Fight in Gori – head of administration uses a bin full of manure
There was an incident yesterday in Gori municipality, Georgia at the entrance of the municipality building.
2 Georgian detainees freed from the Tskhinvali prison
Georgian detainees Maia Otinashvili and Akaki Dotiashvili are freed from the Tskhinvali prison. They had been accused of illegally crossing a so-called the borderline into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Georgia might provide Far East countries with armored vehicles
LEPL State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" might provide several Far East countries with armored vehicles, - “Delta” has informed InterPressNews about it.
Who can be the next first lady of Georgia?
On the 28th of October, presidential elections will be held in Georgia. The last elections in October 2013 resulted in a victory for Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream (the ruling party).
Another Georgian kidnapped at the occupational line, stays detained
Maia Otinashvili (a mother of three children) was detained in her own garden on the 19th of September. Eyewitnesses claim that she was kidnapped by armed people with masks.
Fight broke out in the Georgian TV show
Fight in the Georgian Show Archevani (a choice) broke out between the guests yesterday.
7 amendments that come in force today in Georgia
On the 1st of October, 7 new amendments come in force in Georgia.
Speaker of the parliament plays Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What do the politicians do when they have free time? It is an interesting issue in every country.
What are the new New Year decorations for Tbilisi
New Year decorations and its price in Tbilisi is always a matter of discussion in the capital.
Mamuka Bakhtadze gives a speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
Mamuka Bakhtadze, the prime minister of Georgia is attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly from the 24th of September.
Georgia will ban use, import and production of plastic bags
The Georgian government has decided to tighten rules regulating use of plastic bags in Georgia.
The parliament returns to Tbilisi
The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from January 2019. Currently, the building is located in Kutaisi (west Georgia).
Mamuka Bakhtadze is visiting the USA within the working visit
The Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze Brought a wreath to the tomb of the Georgian military serviceman John Malkhaz Shalikashvili.
Use of plastic bags to be reduced from the 1st of October
Within the framework of the Green Economics and Environmental Protection Policy the Georgian government has approved new regulations
Four Russian Journalists have not been allowed to enter Georgia
Three members of the Russian delegation were not allowed to enter Georgia as this would have violated the Law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30