Traditionally, Saint Petersburg hosting a number of major annual competitions for the youngest judokas.
The history of one of them started on December 1, 2012 when the first tournament for the prizes of Honored Coach of Russia Anatoly Rakhlin was held in the city. 150 children from St Petersburg between the ages of nine and ten competed at the gym of technical school No. 43. The young judokas were greeted by members of the Government of Saint Petersburg, Honored Coaches, and veteran athletes.
Anatoly Semyonovich intended the tournament to be a festival of children’s judo, self-confidence, courage, and friendship. Now the tournament honors the memory of the great coach. The first competition in this format began on December 14, 2013, at the Nova Arena with support of the Government of Saint Petersburg as a sports event of special importance.
The next tournament, held on October 18, 2014, saw the participation of 280 athletes representing more regions of Russia. Athletes from Finland also took part.
The third tournament was held on the birthday of its founder, May 23, 2015. About three hundred young judokas from all over Russian and CIS countries competed that day. At the opening ceremony, Georgy Poltavchenko, Governor of Saint Petersburg read a welcome letter from the President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The athletes from Saint Petersburg were the most successful. The winners and medalists received special awards with a bas-relief image of Anatoly Semyonovich. Tagir Khaybulaev, 2012 Olympic champion in judo held an autograph session as part of the event.
The founder of the tournament was one of the people who helped him develop his talent and achieve triumph at the London Olympics.
On May 28, 2016, the fourth Anatoly Rakhlin Memorial Tournament was held at the Sibur Arena. 353 athletes aged between 12 and 15 representing ten federal districts and foreign countries competed at the event.
At the opening ceremony, Diana, granddaughter of Anatoly Semyonovich, continued the tradition and sang the ‘Song about a coach’ by Mikhail Nozhkin. Many of his pupils and colleagues were present and they sang the song together.
The following day, Judo Club Turbostroitel opened its doors for participants of the event for the traditional education and training session held by leading coaches from Saint Petersburg and France. While competition is a time of rivalry between young athletes at the opposite sides of tatami, the club brought them all together. Any athlete aged 12 to 15 can participate in the tournament. It is a contest of broad horizons and unlimited opportunities. Today, in many clubs there are children from diverse nationalities whose parents have moved to our country for various reasons. To a certain extent, their rights are limited but anyone can take part in the Saint Petersburg tournament. The Russian teams include representatives from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Tajikistan.
The fifth tournament took place on May 23, 2017, at the Sibur Arena sports and events center. It brought together about three hundred of the strongest judokas under 15 years old from Russia, Belarus, and Germany. Greetings were received from President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of the International Judo Federation, Marius Vizer, Vice President of the Japanese Judo Federation, and Yasuhiro Yamashita, twice Olympic Champion. As always, Bashir Varayev, Anatoly Rakhlin’s comrade at the Russian national team, also participated. He announced at the first tournament following Father’s passing, “I’m here on a mission from Anatoly Semyonovich, and I’m looking at everything through his eyes.” At the tournament, boys competed for medals in eight weight classes, and girls in seven. The competition is held on five tatami, in accordance with current international judo rules with limitations.
The sixth tournament was held on May 23, 2018, at Anatoly Rakhlin’s 80th anniversary. It gathered almost 560 participants from 12 countries worldwide, including Europe, South America and Middle East region. In addition, President of Russia Vladimir Putin attended it as a special guest. The head of the country watched the final competitions and presented medals to the winners.