The Russian team hopes to take five medals - two gold ones, two silver and a bronze - at the judo championship of Europe to be staged in Duesseldorf from May 16 to 19, senior coach of the men's national team of Russia Vladimir Kaplin said.
Head national coach and president of the Judo Federation of Russia (FDR) Vladimir Shestakov also noted that to make forecasts is an ungrateful job because "everything may happen in competitions but the Russian athletes are in good form, and we motivate each of them only to win".
Shestakov added that the European championship will be a key stage of the preparation for the Olympic Games in Athens. The composition of the team will be largely determined on the basis of the results of the judokas' performance in Duesseldorf and Osaka where the world championship will be held in September.
Two-time world champion Alexander Mikhailin said for his part that he and his team mates "will vie for victory at the European championship". He also confessed that he would prefer to compete in the superheavy but not in the open-weight category but he is not going to dispute the decision of the coaches' council of the national team according to which another well-known Russian judoka, holder of four European titles Tamerlan Tmenov will compete in the weight category over 100 kg while Mikhailin will vie for honours in the open-weight category. As is known, this weight category does not figure in the Olympic judo programme.
The composition of the Russian men's team at the championship of Europe is as follows: Yevgeny Stanev (the up to 60 kg weight category), Magomed Dzhafarov (up to 66 kg), Renat Mirzaliyev (up to 73 kg), Salam Mezhidov (81 kg), Khasanbi Taov (up to 90 kg), Dmitry Maximov (up to 100 kg), Tamerlan Tmenov (over 100 kg), and Alexander Mikhailin (the open-weight category).
The following judokas will compete for the Russian women's team at the European championship under senior coach Sergei Kosmynin: Lyubov Bruletova (up to 48 kg), Marina Kovrigina (up to 52 kg), Olga Sonina (up to 57 kg), Anna Sarayeva (up to 63 kg), Yulia Kuzina (up to 70 kg), Vera Moskalyuk (up to 78 kg), Tea Dongshuzashvili (over 78 kg), and Irina Rodina (the open-weight category).