By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani wrestlers won two gold and one bronze medals at the Cadet European Championship in the Italian city of Faenza, which kicked off on June 17.
Malik Aliyev (48 kilograms) won one of the gold medals at the European Championship. First he defeated Israeli Melkam Feteene (9:0). In the semifinal, the national fighter was stronger than Maksim Stupakevich from Belarus (4:1). In the final battle, he defeated Damir Kalakutok from Russia (5:3).
Nihat Zahid Mammadli (55 kilograms) brought another gold medal to Azerbaijan. At the championship, he won a victory over Russian Artem Kolesnik (3:1) and Seyitcan Beytekin from Turkey (8:0). In the semifinal, at a principal match, the national athlete beat Armenian Varuzhan Antonyan (4:0). In the final, Mammadli gave no chances to Hleb Makaranka from Belarus (9:0).
Khasay Hasanli (65 kilograms) took the bronze medal of the Championship. In a duel for the third place, Hasanli won Nikoloz Margvelashvili from Georgia (9:0).
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani wrestler Farid Sadikhli (45 kilograms) has qualified to the final, where he will meet with Daniial Agaev from Russia. At the 1/8 stage, Sadikhli was stronger than Hungarian Daniel Rafael. In quaterfinal, Miroslav Mariov Emilov from Bulgaria could do nothing against Azerbaijani athlete (8:0). In semifinal, Sadikhli won Kaspars Bondarenko with the score 8:0 and now waits for his last opponent.
Lachin Valiyev (92 kilograms) is also close to the European gold. On the road to the final, Valiyev beat Archontis Xouras from Greece (7:0), David Kolar from the Czech Republic (9:0), and Oktay Demir from Turkey (7:2). In the final duel, Valiyev will show his skills against Russian Mukhammad Evloev.
Also, Allahverdi Aliyev (71 kilograms) will fight for the bronze. In qualification round, he beat Armenian Lyova Khachatryan (3:1). Then, Aliyev won Serbian Ugljesa Gajic (9:0) and Ioan Alin Dosoftei from Romania (6:1). Unfortunately, Alexandrin Gutu from Moldova stopped Aliyev in the semifinal (9:0). In order to get bronze, Aliyev should win Russian Stepan Starodubtsev.
Wrestling remains the most popular sport in Azerbaijan and is overseen by the National Wrestling Federation, which was established in 1993.
The Rio Games opened a new page in wrestling for Azerbaijan. The country became one of the only two nations ever to increase the number of medals achieved in five consecutive Games.
Azerbaijan left Rio de Janeiro with a total of 18 medals. Nine of these medals were gained by the national wrestling team.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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