Russian judo trainer Anatoly Rakhlin passed away on the night of August 7 in St. Petersburg following a drawn out illness.

Rakhlin was President Vladimir Putin’s first ever judo coach; the future head of state started taking lessons from Rakhlin when he was 13 years old and earned his black belt at 18. All in all, Putin was under Rakhlin’s tutelage for 11 years and always treated his mentor with the utmost respect. The two remained good friends until Rakhlin’s death.

Their last meeting took place on May 30, when the president congratulated his coach on his 75th birthday. As a gift, Putin presented Rakhlin with a watch inscribed with the number 75. He was also awarded the Order of Honour.         

The St. Petersburg Judo Federation announced that Rakhlin’s funeral will take place on August 9. It is being organised by members of his family. 

First published in Russian in Kommersant.