Russia's Audit Chamber chief earns black belt ranking

A ceremony of bestowing Sergei Stepashin, Russia's Audit Chamber chief, with the regalia of a black belt holder in karate took place in the Russian embassy to Japan on Monday.

Mr Stepashin was given a fifth Dan certificate, a karate uniform and a gorgeous black belt.

"I love sports and was a master male track and field athlete, but I have never thought I will become a karatist in Japan," Mr Stepashin said at the ceremony, emphasising that he had never ever gone in for karate.

As RIA Novosti learnt from knowledgeable sources, Japan's Karate-do Shito-ryu federation, eventually decided to certify Mr Stepashin at fifth Dan, since he is going to head the organising committee of the Moscow championship in Karate-do Shito-ryu, due in August 2003.

On Tuesday, Sergei Stepashin will hold talks with his Japanese colleagues and visit the Japanese audit chamber's research institute. Mr Stepashin is seeking to establish contacts and outline ways of co-operation between the audit chambers of Russia and Japan.

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