By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijani para-athletes and delegates, who will take part in the 15th Summer Paralympic Games, have left Baku for Rio de Janeiro.
A solemn farewell ceremony was held at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport on September 1.
President of the National Paralympics Committee Ilgar Rahimov, who addressed the ceremony, said Azerbaijani team took serious preparations for the Games.
Azerbaijan`s squad includes 21 male and 6 female athletes who will struggle for medals in 6 sports: judo, weightlifting, powerlifting, swimming, shooting and archery.
Azerbaijan`s flag will be raised in the Paralympics Village in Rio on September 5.
The opening ceremony of the Games will be held at Maracana stadium two days later. Two-time judo Paralympics champion, winner of Baku-2015 European Games Ilham Zakiyev will carry Azerbaijan's tricolor during the ceremony.
Earlier, the Azerbaijani Olympics team returned home with 18 medals, thus securing the country’s biggest Olympic medal haul for the past 25 years of Azerbaijan’s independence. The national heroes claimed one gold, seven silver and ten bronze medals.
Azerbaijan made its Paralympic Games debut at the 1996 Summer Paralympics in Atlanta, with a two-man delegation to compete in track and field and powerlifting. To date, Azerbaijan has participated in five Summer Paralympic Games.
So far, Azerbaijani athletes have won a total of 27 Paralympic medals, of which eight gold, ten silver and nine bronze. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Azerbaijani Paralympic team set a record bringing home a total of 12 medals, four of which were gold.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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