By Amina Nazarli
The 31st Summer Olympic Games in Rio went into the history of the Azerbaijani sport as one of the brightest Olympic pages. Azerbaijan’s history-making athletes have secured the country’s biggest Olympic medal haul for the past 25 years of Azerbaijan’s independence.
The country has sent a team of 56 athletes to the Rio games, where our heroes won 18 medals.
With one gold, seven silver and 10 bronze, Azerbaijan was ranked 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.
The Azerbaijani athletes left behind all CIS countries, except Russia, for the number of the secured medals. The country also won more medals than athletes from Spain, Turkey, Iran, Sweden, Denmark, Greece and others, despite the fact that they were presented in Games by more sportsmen.
Azerbaijan’s only gold medal was secured by taekwondo fighter Radik Isayev (+80 kg).
“I did not realize that I became an Olympic champion. Now I only feel a pain in my leg. I knew my rivals very well. I dedicate my victory to my first fans -- parents, and mother,” he said after his victory.
President Ilham Aliyev made a phone call to the gold winner saying that Radik’s confident victory made all the people of Azerbaijan happy.
The head of state noted Radik Isayev had previously proved to be the strongest taekwondo fighter in the world in his weight category as he claimed the title of the world champion and now won the Olympic Games. The President congratulated the athlete, and wished him new successes and victories.
Isayev expressed his deepest gratitude to the President for the congratulations. He said his victory was possible thanks to President Ilham Aliyev`s attention to sports.
On the last day of the Olympics, Azerbaijan claimed three silver medals, slightly disappointing national fans, who were waiting the gold from wrestlers.
Wrestler Toghrul Asgarov claimed silver, as he was defeated by Russia's Soslan Ramonov in the men's freestyle 65 kg final.
Toghrul, commenting on his last fight, said he will not forgive himself for not taking gold.
“I wanted to secure gold. Finals unlike other fights are even harder. At the beginning of the final battle I and my rival hit heads and everything went black. I could not see the carpet. I did not understand how it all happened. I was so confused that could not even see a doctor after the fight,” Asgarov emphasized.
Another wrestler Khetag Goziumov also lost in the final to USA's Kyle Snyder in the men’s freestyle 97 kg finals.
“My goal was gold, but I could not win it,” Khetag said. “Nothing can be done. The opponent in the finals was stronger than me. I tried not to think about Toghrul’s defeat, though it was surprise for me. Probably my opponent with a great desire struggled in the final.”
Sotomayor Collazo Lorenzo (64kg) lost the chance to win gold in his fight against Uzbekistan's Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.
After the fight Lorenzo said that he faced judicial injustice. “I won the final match, but faced judicial injustice. Before the final round score was in a draw. I was sure I had won the third round. I think that did everything to win, but the judges gave the victory to the Uzbeks. I love Azerbaijan, this is my home. And I really wanted to win a gold medal for the country. But judge’s decision was very unfair,” he said.
Azerbaijan’s previous silver medals were taken by judokas Rustam Orudjev (73kg) and Elmar Gasimov (100kg), female wrestler Maria Stadnik (48kg) and canoe sprinter Valentin Demyanenko in men’s canoe single 200 m.
Bronze medals were claimed by Greco-Roman wrestler Sabah Shariati (130 kg) and rower Inna Osypenko-Radomska in women’s 200 meters kayak single, Greco-Roman wrestler Rasul Chunayev (66kg), female taekwondo fighter Patimat Abakarova (49kg), female wrestler Natalya Sinishin, boxer Kamran Shahsuvarly (75kg), taekwondo fighter Milad Beigi Harchegani (80 kg), freestyle wrestlers Jabrayil Hasanov (74kg), Sharif Sharifov (86 kg) and Haji Aliyev (57 kg).
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