Author: Senan SHAFIZADE
One of the largest competitions on the planet, the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will finally take place in 2021. Licensed athletes are eagerly waiting for the start of the competition on July 23rd.
Interestingly, a state of emergency has already been declared in Tokyo due to the upcoming games. According to the decision of the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, it will last until August 22.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was decided to hold competitions in the capital of the country, as well as in the neighbouring prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama without the participation of spectators because of the state of emergency in Tokyo. Also, the opening and closing ceremonies will be held without spectators, but with the participation of VIP-guests.
Azerbaijan won 40 licenses in 16 sports for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. This is one of the three best results in the country's Olympic history, behind only two previous Olympic Games. These figures were seriously affected by the inadequate conduct of a number of competitions and the lack of necessary preparation for tournaments due to the pandemic. The number of licenses is less than those won in 2012 and 2016, but more, if we recall the four previous Olympics, in which Azerbaijan participated. And the number of licenses won in various sports repeats the result of 2012.
For the first time, Azerbaijan will be presented in badminton and a new form of the Olympic games - karate. Also, 13 years later, we have a chance to compete in clay pigeon shooting. Unfortunately, we will not see our athletes in track cycling, rowing, canoeing and archery competitions.
The youngest representative of Azerbaijan in Tokyo 2020 will be Maryam Sheykhalizadehangah. The 17 years old swimmer will represent Azerbaijan on preferential terms. The oldest athlete in our team is Emin Jafarov (clay pigeon shooting), who will turn 42 in October.
Unfortunately, the Azerbaijani athlete of Cuban origin Alexis Kopeylo, who was supposed to represent the country in the triple jump, will not go to Tokyo either. He has a license thanks to his world rating, but was seriously injured, underwent surgery in Spain and is being recovered.
Two Azerbaijani athletes will compete in athletics, which is considered one of the oldest types of sport in the Olympic program. These are Anna Skidan (hammer throw) and Nazim Babaev (triple jump). According to forecasts, even reaching the final can be considered a success for both athletes.
It is the first time Azerbaijan will be represented in this sport. That’s why the naturalized Azerbaijani athlete Edi Reski Dvichao does not expect any medal, but will try to advance as far as possible.
Our country will be represented in four competitions in three types of gymnastics. Zohra Aghamirova (individual program) and a team in group exercises consisting of Zeynab Hummatova, Laman Alimuradova, Yelizaveta Luzan, Daria Sorokina and Narmina Samedova will perform in the rhythmic gymnastics competition. Note that we participate in group exercises after a 13 years old break.
Two more Azerbaijani athletes will take part in artistic gymnastics competitions - Marina Nekrasova will compete for medals among women, and Ivan Tikhonov among men. By the way, Marina’s Olympic license is the first one in the history of Azerbaijani artistic gymnastics.
Five athletes from Azerbaijan will compete in Tokyo, including Tayfur Aliyev (57 kg), Javid Chalabiyev (63 kg), Lorenzo Sotomayor (69 kg), Alfonso Dominguez (81 kg) and Magomed Abdullayev (+91 kg). Our boxers have always demonstrated dignity defending the sport honour of Azerbaijan. According to forecasts, we can hope for at least two medals.
Azerbaijan will be represented by the largest number of athletes, including Keramet Huseynov (60 kg), Orkhan Safarov (66 kg), Rustam Orujov (73 kg), Murad Fatiyev (81 kg), Mammadali Mehdiyev (90 kg), Zelim Kotsoev (100 kg) ), Ushangi Kokauri (+100 kg), Aisha Gurbanli (48 kg) and Irina Kindzerskaya (+78 kg). We can also expect at least two medals in judo.
In bullet shooting, Azerbaijan will be represented by Ruslan Lunev (shooting from a small-bore pistol at 25 and 50 m). Our athlete will be successful if can make it to the final stage of the competition.
Three Azerbaijani athletes will perform in the karate included in the program of the Olympic Games for the first time. These are Rafael Aghayev (75 kg), Irina Zaretska (+61 kg) and Firdovsi Farzaliyev (67 kg). Despite the strong competition, we hope that two of our athletes will be among the medallists.
In this unconventional sport for Azerbaijan, we have only one representative - Anna Bashta. We wish her success!
This is a traditional and a favourite sport in Azerbaijan, although a relatively small team of athletes will represent Azerbaijan in Tokyo. These are seven wrestlers, including freestyle wrestlers Maria Stadnik (50 kg), Alice Manolova (68 kg), Sharif Sharifov (97 kg), Haji Aliyev (65 kg), Hajimurad Hajiyev (74 kg) and Greco-Roman style wrestlers Islam Abbasov (87 kg) and Rafig Huseynov (77 kg). They are our main hope for Olympic awards. We can expect at least three medals in their asset.
Azerbaijan will be represented in this sport thanks to a special invitation - a wild card. Reaching the final can be considered a success for our shooter Emin Jafarov.
Unfortunately, the winner of the last Olympic Games, Radik Isaev, will not perform this time. Our Olympic champion was unable to win a license for Tokyo 2020. Milad Beigi Kharchegani (80 kg) and Farida Azizova (67 kg) will join the tournament instead of Radik. Hopefully they both will return with medals.
There is only one athlete representing Azerbaijan in this new type of sport for Azerbaijan. Rostislav Pevtsov will have to compete in the biggest competition of his career. Let's wish him success!
Our two athletes - Maxim Shemberev (400 m, complex) and Maryam Sheykhalizadehangah will try to achieve the best results.
Azerbaijan has one license in this sport too. Elchin Asadov will represent Azerbaijan in road races.
The opening ceremony of the largest competition on the planet will take place on July 23. Judoka Rustam Orujov will carry the flag of Azerbaijan during the ceremony.