By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijani freestyle wrestler Sabir Jafarov (60 kg) has won the gold medal at the Cadet European Championships in Italian city of Faenza.
In qualification round, the national wrestler did not give a chance to Tobias Neuschitzer from Austria (12-0). In 1/8 stage, Jafarov won Ayub Musaev from Belgium (6-1). In quarterfinal, the wrestler from Azerbaijan beat German Adrian Barnowski (10-0). In semifinal, Jafarov overpowered Alexandru Ioan Matea from Romania (8-1).
In the final, Azerbaijani freestyle wrestler was stronger than his Armenian opponent Genik Asatryan (6-1).
In addition, two other national wrestlers gained silver medals in Italy. Murad Hagverdiyev (45 kg) started from a qualification round and won Russian Anzor Mazhidov at a tough duel (3-2). In 1/4 stage, Pavel Colesnic from Moldova could do nothing against the Azerbaijani athlete (10-0). In semifinal, Hagverdiyev won Tolga Ozbek from Turkey (7-6). Unfortunately, Nikolozi Santeladze from Georgia stopped the Azerbaijani athlete in final (12-5).
The other athlete who won silver medal was Jabrayil Hajiyev (65 kg). He won Fiorenzo Priolo from Italy (10-0), Krystian Tomasz Krupinski from Poland (10-0) and Narek Pohosian from Ukraine (8-3) in 1/8 stage, quarterfinal and semifinal respectively. However, in the final match, Hajiyev lost to Iman Shikhshabekov from Russia (0-4).
In addition, the Azerbaijani team grabbed three more bronze medals. Kanan Heybatov (51 kg) in duel for the bronze medal beat Ilya Rahozau (10-0). Ziraddin Bayramov, in turn, beat Armenian Hayk Abrahamyan (8-6), and Hamlet Nasibli won Hubert Wisniewski from Poland (4-0).
Thus, the Azerbaijani national team in freestyle wrestling, having won one gold, two silver and four bronze medals, scored 153 points and took second place in the team competition. The first were the Russians with 190 points, and the third - the Georgians who scored 140 points.
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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