The President of Georgia decorated the heads of the Georgian basketball and rugby federations and national teams

The President of Georgia decorated the heads of the Georgian basketball and rugby federations and national teams with the Presidential Orders of Excellence for their contribution in the development of sport in Georgia and the successes achieved in the international arena. The President of Georgia thanked them for their contribution in this area of sport, wished them advancement, and promised them support from the side of the government. As he noted, Georgia has overcome the mentality of the defeated, which we were deeply accustomed to. Mikheil Saakashvili stated that, development of sports is extremely important for Georgia, because our country has to be distinguished in this way also, in the international arena.

“First of all, I would like to thank everyone. We saw the first results from your work of many years this past year – Georgia has advanced in sports, basketball and rugby. This is part of a comprehensive process which is going on in Georgia because our country must transform from a second tier country to a first tier country. Sport has a decisive role in this process. I saw the reaction caused by the quality of the games that our national team displayed in Lithuania. The fact that you were playing at the European championship has turned into a celebration for the people. While I was in London, the Prime Minister of UK told me that he was impressed with the level of competitiveness of the Georgian team, including their game with the team from England. Being in New Zealand was not only an important step forward in terms of rugby; it is an important step for us in terms of politics as well. These games were not unevenly matched and we were not just anyone’s playing partners. Aside from this, our games were the main business card of Georgia in New Zealand, which is a completely separate region in regards to this sport. Our guys are competing with everyone at the same level and we have overcome the mentality of “the defeated” in this sport. That is why I would like to thank the Head Coaches of the teams: Igor Kokoshkov and James Richard Dixon as well as the heads of the basketball and rugby federations and everyone who fought to promote Georgia there. We are proud of you and we think that you have dealt with your task well” – stated the President Georgia.

While talking to James Richard Dixon, Mikheil Saakashvili also noted that the government is planning to implement new programs in order to popularize and develop rugby.

“We are planning to improve and expand the rugby program in the future. I was telling the Prime Minister of UK while in London that our rugby team started training with just one stadium and he was astonished. For a very long time, everywhere I went, people talked to me about football and basketball. But now the popularization of rugby has made people curious and it has become a national sport. If we have more fields in the future, you will be able to achieve a miracle and attain even better results” – stated Mikheil Saakashvili.

Igor Kokoshkov and Richard Dixon thanked the Head of State for the decoration and for the support that the government is giving to these sports. The Head Coach of the national basketball team gave Mikheil Saakashvili shirts of the Georgian national team and an American team -“The Phoenix Suns”.

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