By Amina Nazarli
The successful performance of Azerbaijani athletes in the Rio Olympics not just pleased their fans, but also went down into the history of the national sport.
The Azerbaijani team of 56 athletes secured eighteen medals including one gold, seven silver and 10 bronze in taekwondo, wrestling, canoe, kayak, box, judo.
Youth and Sport Minister Azad Rahimov, commenting on results of the national athletes, said that mistakes were made while judging in some cases.
The minister noted that national wrestler Toghrul Asgarov was fully ready for the Olympics. “He was seriously injured during the final duel with the Russian athlete Soslan Ramonov. As a result, he conceded with a score of 0:11,” said Rahimov.
Speaking about the performance of gymnast Marina Durunda, the minister also complained about the unfair decision of some judges.
“President of Federations, the National Olympic Committees of other countries have told me that Marina performed very well, and deserves, if not even a gold medal, but bronze,” he stressed.
The Minister also touched the issue of Azerbaijanis, who competed for other countries, such as weightlifter Nijat Rahimov (77kg), who represented Kazakhstan bringing this country gold and set a record lifting 214 kg.
“We live in a globalized world, where many people are leaving their homeland to live in other countries. For example, one of the contestants of Togrul Asgarov, represented Italy, despite being Cuban. A number of countries drew fighters from Dagestan and etc... Our athlete represented Kazakhstan and won the gold medal for this country, and Ramil Guliyev represented Turkey. There is nothing reprehensible in this. But our main goal is education of young, talented Azerbaijani athletes and attract them in the national team,” he said.
The minister also noted that they support legionaries, who live, train, and win medals for Azerbaijan, and do not make the difference between them and the Azerbaijani athletes.
Azerbaijan won 18 Olympic medals, ranking the 39th in the medal table, while the national team become the most efficient team of the Games. The country has won 0.3 medals per athlete, with its relatively small team of 56 athletes.
Azerbaijan is also among the top 15 countries for the total number of gained medals in the Games, which was attended by record 206 countries, alongside with the U.S., Britain, China, Russia, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Australia and Canada.
Moreover, Azerbaijan placed the 8th for the number of medals won per million inhabitants of the country. The Land of Fire earned 1.84 medals per million inhabitants of Azerbaijan.
Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli
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