By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani female judo fighter Gultaj Mammadaliyeva (62 kg) has become the winner of the European Judo Open among adults in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca.
At the сontinental сup, Azerbaijan was represented only in the women's competition. Mammadaliyeva won Cheyenne Mounier (France) at the 1/8 stage and Sofia Hogrefe Asea (Spain) in the quarterfinal. In the semifinal, the national athlete was stronger than Nahomys Acosta Batte (Cuba). In the final, Mammadaliyeva defeated Hungarian Reka Pupp and became the European Judo Open winner.
In addition, the tournament in Romania brought Azerbaijani team three bronze medals. Leyla Aliyeva (48 kg) won Elisa Adrasti (Italy) at the 1/8 stage and Mallaurie Mercadier (France) in the quarterfinal. However, in the semifinal, another Italian judo fighter Francesca Milani defeated the national fighter. In a duel for the bronze medal, Aliyeva won Mara Kraft (Austria).
Meanwhile, Aisha Gurbanli took third place in the same weight category. She won Polish Danuta Majcher at the 1/8 stage, but lost to Francesca Milani In the quarterfinal. Then, the national fighter beat French Mallaurie Mercadier and Romanian Alexandra Pop and was awarded with European bronze.
Moreover, Ichinkhorloo Munkhtsedev (57 kg), Mongolian legionary of Azerbaijani national team, also won the bronze medal. At the first stage, she did not give a chance to Hungarian Kitti Kovacs. At the 1/8 stage, Munkhtsedev was stronger than Wilsa Gomes (Portugal). In the quarterfinal, Romanian Denisa Aschiopoaei failed to cope with Munkhtsedev. In the semifinal, the judo fighter was defeated by Gaetane Deberdt (France). In the fight for bronze medal, the national athlete won Austrian Asimina Theodorakis.
In the medal standings of the European Judo Open, the Azerbaijani team with one gold and three bronze medals took the fifth place. The first were the Italians, who won four gold and three silver medals. Georgians with four gold and two bronze medals became second.
Judo became an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Games in 1964, and thus became universal. The International Judo Federation today brings together 195 national federations and 5 continental unions.
Judo is one of the most developed sports in Azerbaijan, where the National Judo Federation was established in 1972. The Azerbaijani judo team is considered one of the best in the world.
The adult judo team of Azerbaijan made considerable progress in 2016. The team won 51 awards in competitions of various levels. The results showed that Azerbaijani judokas won 351 times out of 710 fights during the year.
The Azerbaijani judo fighter, silver medalist of Rio-2016 Summer Olympic Games, Rustam Orujov was named the best in Azerbaijan's male team. Moreover, he is the strongest in the world in his weight class of 73kg, as well as among all weight classes.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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