By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
11 Azerbaijani sportsmen representing two wrestling disciplines entered the Top 20 of the updated world ranking of wrestlers formed by United World Wrestling (UWW).
National wrestlers Jabrayil Hasanov (79 kilograms) and Eldaniz Azizli (65 kilograms) lead the world ranking following the Senior European Wrestling Championships which have been held in Bucharest, Romania, Sputnik Azerbaijan reported.
Azerbaijani freestyle wrestler Jabrayil Hasanov, who gained gold medal at the tournament, has 60 points and shares the first place in world ranking with Kyle Dake from the U.S.
Greco-Roman wrestler Eldaniz Azizli, who won bronze medal at the championships, scored 76 points and confidently retains the first position of the appropriate ranking.
Also, the three-time World and European champion in freestyle wrestling Haji Aliyev (65 kilograms) ranks 8th with 22 points and another Azerbaijani freestyler Sharif Sharifov (92 kilograms) ranks 11th with 20 points.
Senior European Wrestling Championships were held in Bucharest on April 8-14 and welcomed over 520 athletes from 38 nations.
Azerbaijani freestyle wrestling team became third at the tournament by winning three gold, one silver and two bronze medals and scoring 145 points. The team took its rightful place after Russia (162 points) and Turkey (156 points).
It is noteworthy that by the number of gold medals won (3), Azerbaijan and Turkey became the leaders of the championship. Champions Haji Aliyev, Jabrayil Hasanov and Sharif Sharifov brought 25 points each to the Azerbaijani team, and the silver medalist Aghahuseyn Mustafayev added 20 points.
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 the history of Azerbaijani wrestling. 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 and nine of them came from the Azerbaijani wrestling team.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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