By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan continues to increase the number of licenses to the Rio 2015 Olympic Games.
So far, three athletes from Azerbaijan gained a chance to compete in Brazil next year.
The first license came from Albert Salimov, a featherweight (60 kg) boxer best known for winning the European championship 2006 and the World Championships 2007.
Athlete of the Azerbaijani team, Dmitry Marshin won the second license for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro by showing a result of 78.52 meters in hammer throwing.
The country’s third license came from Hanna Skidan, who got the license in hammer throw. The 23-year-old ranked second with a result of 72.31 meters in the open championship in Moldova.
Azerbaijani athletes are showing excellent results at the summer Olympic Games since its first Olympic Games in Atlanta, in the U.S., 1996.
The country gained one silver medal in Atlanta in 1996, two gold medals and a bronze medal in Sydney 2000, one gold and four bronze medals in Athens 2004 and one gold, two silver and four bronze medals in Beijing 2008. Ten medals gained at the recent London Olympics showed the progress Azerbaijan made in sports.
The number of athletes has also increased from the Games to the Games - in 1996 Azerbaijan had 23 athletes. This number has now doubled to reach 53 in the London Olympics, 2012.
The historic European Games which will start in Baku on June 1, will also give athletes many opportunities to win a license to the Rio Olympics.
The Baku 2015 European Games is expected to gather some of Europe's best athletes, as 16 of its 20 sports will be Olympic; additionally 12 of the sports will offer qualification opportunities for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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