Azerbaijan’s Greco-Roman wrestling team come back to homeland

Azerbaijan’s Greco-Roman wrestling team, having achieved a historic success at the European Championships in Rome, has returned to their homeland, SIA reports.

The national team, having won two gold and four bronze medals and taken second place in the team competition of the most effective continental championship in its history, was met by AWF leaders, coaches, wrestlers, relatives of the team's members, fans and media representatives at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

“I’m pleased with the performance of the wrestlers,” said Elchin Jafarov, the vice president of Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation on Greco-Roman Style. “In particular, I would like to mention young Sanan Suleymanov and the famous wrestler Rafig Huseynov. On behalf of the Federation, I express gratitude to the entire sports community for such attention. I express gratitude for congratulations to President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva.”

“I believe that this is the highest appraisal given to the victory of our athletes,” Jafarov noted. “On behalf of the head of the Federation Namig Aliyev, I express my gratitude to all of you for your attention and for meeting our wrestlers. Two licensed tournaments await us. We will try to get licenses for the Tokyo Olympics.”

Head coach of the national team, Alexander Tarakanov, noted that he is pleased with the performance of the team.

“I think that two gold and four bronze medals at the European Championships are a good result,” said the head coach. “Licensed tournaments are considered to be the main ones. That’s because it’s necessary to win as many licenses to the Olympics as possible, and we will do everything for this. I take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the head of the Federation Namig Aliyev, who makes every effort to satisfy all the needs of the team, so that training sessions are organized at a high level. We, against the background of the conditions created, will try to justify your trust.”

“For the first time I performed in this weight category, and I didn’t expect that I would become a champion,” said Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg), who first performed in the European Championships. “In the first match I defeated an Armenian fighter representing Bulgaria. In the semi-finals, my opponent was also an Armenian, and I also defeated him. We were very motivated by congratulations from President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, who inspired us in anticipation of future competitions. The care and attention that the country's leadership pays to sports are obvious, and I felt a sense of pride after hearing these congratulations. I will try to successfully performs at the World Championships and the Olympics.”

In turn, European champion Rafig Huseynov who became champion for the second time after nine years also shared his impressions.

“Thank you very much for congratulations,” Huseynov said. “I am very glad that I became the European champion for the second time, and I’m happy for the success of my teammates. Our team already has strong wrestlers. Now we will prepare for licensed competitions. The main goal is the Olympics.”

The Azerbaijani team for the first time won a record number of medals (6) at the European Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships in Rome, Italy.

Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg) and Rafig Huseynov (82 kg), having defeated all rivals, climbed the highest step of the podium. Eldaniz Azizli (55 kg), Murad Bazarov (60 kg), Ulvi Ganizade (72 kg) and Islam Abbasov (87 kg) took the third place, winning bronze medals.

Thus, the Azerbaijani team, which won 2 gold and 4 bronze medals, scored 116 points, becoming the second after Russia (128) in the team event.

The European Championships in Rome will end Feb. 16.

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