7 December 2021

Tuesday, 20:09



Greco-Roman wrestlers finished the Norwegian championship on a positive wave



The World Wrestling Championship held in Norway went down in history for the ambiguous result for the Azerbaijani national team. Our female wrestlers could not get any medals, while the male freestyle wrestlers showed a low performance. Only the Greco-Roman wrestlers could be succefful.


Weak link

The national team of Azerbaijan dispatched to Oslo consisted of nine male freestyle wrestlers. The team headed by Namig Abdullayev has only two bronze medals so far. Afghan Hashalov, Kanan Geybatov, Ali Rahimzade, Turan Bayramov, Joshgun Azimov, Ashraf Ashirov, and Islam Ilyasov returned to Baku without awards. Abubakr Abakarov (86 kg) and Osman Nurmagomedov (92 kg) were the only athletes from the team to receive bronze medals. In general, returning home with only two medals is not viewed as a positive result. Coaches let the leaders of the team to have rest after the Tokyo Olympics and took the young athletes to Norway. However, the championship has demonstrated that they were not ready to set high standards currently.

In fact, no medals were expected from the women's team due to the absence of the four-time Olympic medalist Maria Stadnik. Turkan Nasirova (50 kg), Alena Kolesnik (59 kg) and Olympic Games participant Alisa Manolova (65 kg), who took part in the tournament as part of the national team, could not surprise their fans. After losing at the early stage of the tournament, all three failed to get any awards.


Difficult victories

However, the Greco-Roman adequately represented Azerbaijan in Norway. The bronze medalist of the Tokyo Olympics Rafig Huseynov achieved the highest result among his team members. At first, the 33-year-old athlete won an early victory by defeating his Estonian counterpart. This was followed by Rafig’s win over a Kazakh athlete. The bout with the silver medalist of the world championship and the bronze medalist of the European Championship, the Swede Alex Kessidis, turned out to be unpredictable. The latter finished the first half of the bout with 6:0.

In the second half, Rafig demonstrated real will and perseverance, won with a minimal advantage and made his way to the semifinals. After defeating a Russian athlete in the semifinals, Huseynov made his way to the final stage of the tournament for the second time. In the decisive bout, he defeated a wrestler from Turkey Burhan Akbulak and became the world champion.

Eldaniz Azizli (55 kg), a medalist of the world and European championships, made it to the third step of the podium in Norway. Azizli initially lost to a Japanese wrestler, but later won the bronze medal in a bout with the Turkish wrestler Ekrem Ozturk. This was Azizli’s second bronze medal at world championships. Therefore, our experienced wrestler increased the number of his medals won at world championships to three. In total, Azizli won eight medals at the world and European championships. In 2018, Eldaniz Azizli became the world and European champion. In addition, he has six bronze medals: two from world championships and four from European championships.

For the first time in his career, Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg) had a chance to compete in the semifinals of the world championship. After defeating the representative of Belarus Timur Berdiev at this stage, Sanan made it to the final. In the decisive match, he lost with a minimum score to two-time Olympic and world champion, four-time European champion Roman Vlasov and was awarded a silver medal.

Murad Mammadov (60 kg) won another bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.


Before a difficult choice

In his interview with R+, Rafig Huseynov said that the most difficult bout was in the semifinals: “Because my opponent was the world champion Adlan Akiyev from Russia. I think the final bout was not as difficult as the one in the semifinals. I would say it was even easier. I am happy that I became the winner.”

The bronze medallist of the 2020 Summer Olympics said that he was going to end his career after the final bout of the world championship: “But my father said that after 5-6 months of rest, I might want to fight again. I know he said this because he didn’t want my career end. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. Honestly, I want to become a national team coach. However, if the federation wants me to compete until the 2024 Paris Olympics, I will continue. For me, this is not a job, but a way of life. I am happy to be a world champion. Two months ago I said that I want to write a new page in history by winning this title. And I did it. Now I will compete only for pleasure. I dedicate my victory to the heroes of the 44-day Patriotic War.”

It is difficult to say whether the 33-year-old Rafig Huseynov will compete at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. Nevertheless, it is clear that in Oslo the young wrestlers of the national team were not yet ready for adult competition. It will take time for the changes that have taken place in the national team after the Tokyo Olympics to pay off. Now all attention will be focused on the national championship postponed due to the pandemic. We will hopefully know the names of all the members of the Azerbaijani national team after that event.