By Laman Ismayilova
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva have congratulated the national Greco-Roman wrestling team with marvelous victory at the European Championship.
The wrestlers enriched the country's medal haul with 2 gold and 4 bronze medals.
The head of the state congratulated wrestlers, coaches and the entire Azerbaijani people on the glorious victory of the national Greco-Roman wrestling team, which won 6 medals for the first time in the European Championship.
Mehriban Aliyeva stressed that that the national Greco-Roman wrestling team ranked second in the overall medal table at the European Championship held in Rome, Italy.
"I sincerely congratulate the athletes who have brought this glorious joy of victory to the Azerbaijani people - gold medalists Sanan Suleymanov and Rafig Huseynov, bronze medal holders Eldaniz Azizli, Murad Bazarov, Ulvi Ganizade and Islam Abbasov and their coaches, and wish them new successes and victories," she added.
National wrestlers Sanan Suleymanov (77kg) and Rafig Huseynov (82 kg) won two golds, while Eldaniz Azizli (55 kg), Murad Bazarov (60 kg), Ulvi Ganizade (72 kg) and Islam Abbasov (87 kg) took bronze medals.
Speaking about the victory, Vice-President of Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation on Greco-Roman Style Elchin Jafarov said that he was was pleased with the performance of the wrestlers.
"In particular, I would like to mention young Sanan Suleymanov and the famous wrestler Rafig Huseynov. On behalf of the Federation, I express my gratitude to the entire sports community for such attention. I express gratitude for congratulations to President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva," he said.
"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," he added.
Head coach of the national team, Alexander Tarakanov expressed his gratitude to the head of the Federation Namig Aliyev.
"I think that two gold and four bronze medals at the European Championships are a good result. 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...," said Tarakanov.
Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg), who first performed in the European Championships, said that he had not expected to win.
"For the first time I performed in this weight category, and I didn’t expect that I would become a champion. 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," he said.
In turn, European champion Rafig Huseynov who became champion for the second time after nine years also shared his impressions.
"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," he said.
The 2020 European Wrestling Championships will end on February 16.
Wrestling remains the most popular sport in Azerbaijan and is overseen by the National Wrestling Federation, which was established in 1993.
The Rio Games opened a new page in wrestling for Azerbaijan. The country became one of the only two nations ever to increase the number of medals achieved in five consecutive Games. Azerbaijan left Rio de Janeiro with a total of 18 medals. Nine of these medals were gained by the national wrestling team.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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