By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
"Diamond" of world karate Rafael Aghayev (75 kilograms) won the silver medal at the European Championships held in Guadalajara (Spain) last weekend.
In his 13th final, Rafael was defeated by 4-time European champion from Italy Luigi Busa with a score of 0:1.
Rafael Aghayev is a leading Azerbaijani Karate competitor. He is a five-time World Champion and eleven-time European Champion in his discipline.
Currently, Rafael Aghayev is captain of the Azerbaijan Team, who continues to train and perform under the guidance of new senior coach Rahman Hatamov.
In June 2015, he competed in the inaugural European Games, for the host country Azerbaijan in karate, more specifically, Kumite in 75 kilograms weight category. He grabbed a gold medal.
So coming back to tournament, it is important to note that Azerbaijani karate fighters won four medals at the continental championships.
In turn, bronze medals were won by Asiman Gurbanli (over 85 kilograms) and Roman Heydarov in kata competitions. Nuran Aliyev (50 kilograms), as well as Ismail Guliyev, Tural Baldzhanly and Rovshan Aliyev kata stopped a step away from the podium.
It should be added that according to the results of the European Championships in Spain, Azerbaijani karate fighters raised their ratings and thereby increased the chances of getting qualifications for Olympics.
In particular, Rafael Aghayev has been up to second place in the world Olympic qualification, gaining 3,150 points. The leader in the ranking is Italian Luigi Busa, who has 3,555 points. Note that the first ten best karate fighters of the planet in each of the Olympic weight categories will go to the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.
Firdovsi Farzaliyev with 1672.5 points is on the 12th line in the weight category up to 67 kilograms among men.
In the women's Olympic standings, the best among our athletes is the world champion Irina Zaretskaya (over 61 kilograms), who has 3022.5 points and ranks second in the world. Ahead is only the Greek Eleni Chatiliad (3,435 points).
On the final day of the competition in Guadalajara, the flag of the European Karate Federation (EKF) was handed over to President of the Azerbaijani Karate Federation Yashar Bashirov in connection with the next continental championship in 2020 in Baku.
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