By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Junior European Wrestling Championships has ended in Pontevedra, Spain. Azerbaijan's freestyle wrestling team which was competing in the weight categories of 57, 65, 70, 79 and 97 kilograms ranked third in the team competition, gaining 115 points.
Two representatives of Azerbaijan Turan Bayramov and Abubakr Abakarov gained gold medals of the tournament.
Turan Bayramov, who wrestled in the weight category of 65 kilograms, defeated an athlete from Georgia in the 1/8 final. In the quarterfinals Bayramov beat the representative of France. In the semifinals, the Azerbaijani wrestler defeated a wrestler from Moldova, and in the decider he won the Russian athlete and became the champion of Europe.
Another Azerbaijani wrestler Abubakr Abakarov, who competed in the 79 kilogram category, won athletes from Belarus and Lithuania on the way to the final. In the semifinals, Abakarov defeated contender from Estonia. In the final, the Azerbaijani wrestler triumphed over a Russian athlete and won the gold of the tournament.
In addition, Askhab Gamzatov (92 kilograms) and Islam Abuyev (125 kilograms) won bronze medals.
All this shows that successes of Azerbaijani wrestlers at different tournaments including Olympics is not by chance. Wrestling remains the most popular sport in the country and it is overseen by the National Wrestling Federation established in 1993.
The Rio Games opened a new page in wrestling of Azerbaijan. The country became one of the two nations continuously increasing the number of medals achieved in the last five consecutive Games.
Azerbaijan left Rio de Janeiro with a total of 18 medals - nine of them came from the Azerbaijani wrestling team.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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