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Azerbaijan establishes itself as sports country – official (PHOTO)

KONYA, Türkiye, August 16. Azerbaijan has established itself as a sports country, Head of the Baku’s Main Youth and Sports Department, Member of Azerbaijan’s National Olympic Committee Raqif Abbasov told Trend.

He noted that Azerbaijan will maintain its position in the Top-5 in terms of the number of medals at the V Islamic Solidarity Games and Azerbaijan has every chance to improve its position by ranking third.

“I would like to note that Türkiye held V İslamic Solidarity Games similar to how Azerbaijan did it in 2017. Türkiye made sure to hold the Games at a high level. At the opening of the Games at the Konya Stadium in Türkiye, the Azerbaijani delegation was greeted very warmly. Azerbaijan has the second largest delegation after Türkiye. Of the 24 sports disciplines in 22, Azerbaijan is represented by 282 athletes. Azerbaijan has an experimental national team: there are experienced athletes, and there are young inexperienced people. In some sports disciplines, we have brought athletes who have no previous experience of participating in the Islamic Solidarity Games,” Abbasov said.

“I would also like to emphasize that the presence of President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva at the opening of the V Islamic Solidarity Games gave an additional incentive to the athletes. The meeting in the athletes’ village with the athletes served as an incentive for both the coaching staff and the athletes to new victories,” he noted

“Azerbaijan has won over 60 medals and that’s not all, because there are some sports disciplines in which competitions continue: judo, fencing, 3×3 basketball and some competitions that have not yet begun (kickboxing, karate). Azerbaijan has established itself as a sports country, and despite the fact that we brought an experimental squad, we were able to maintain the dynamics of performances, and the number of medals is evidence of that. The number of legionnaires has decreased, the number of Azerbaijanis in the coaching staff has increased, and all of this is pleasing to know,” he said.

Abbasov noted that with the exception of the leaders in taekwondo, other athletes in various sports – in Greco-Roman wrestling (women’s and men’s), fencing, and judo – met all expectations.

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“The team captains are experienced athletes, they justified themselves as leaders, led the team, and this is also rejoicing to know, but it is doubly rejoicing to know that young people in different sports adequately replaced the leaders,” he said.

The head of the Baku City Youth and Sports Department stressed that the V Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya were also remembered for the fact that Azerbaijan is represented by the largest number of volunteers.

“I am doubly grateful to sports journalism, which covers events very promptly. Azerbaijan has looked at a lot of information on the theme of the Games in recent days in Baku. And thanks to those who were sent to them, Azerbaijan was aware of all the sporting events that take place in Konya. I would also like to note that a special meeting with Turkish journalists was organized for Azerbaijani sports journalists in Konya, historical and architectural sites were visited, the experience was exchanged and this was covered in the Turkish media,” Abbasov added.