By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s five-time World Champion Rafael Aghayev (-75 kg) has won Karate 1-Premier League held in Dubai in the last day of competitions.
Rafael Aghayev was among the big winners of the second stop of Karate’s first-class series of international competitions.
In the final, Male Kumite met two most experienced and most successful athletes of the category fighting for gold. Aghayev upset Luigi Busa from Italy in a dazzling final bout. Despite the fact that Busa had taken the lead (2-1), Aghayev scored a late “Waza-ari” and won (3-2).
After the epic victory, Aghayev said: “I have been fighting against Luigi Busa for the past 15 years, and I have great respect for him. I respect him very much both in and out of the tatami. We know each other so well that even with closed eyes we know what the other is going to do. This gold medal is very important for me and it is a big step towards the Olympic Games. I wish the best success to all the athletes in the quest to the Olympic Games. May the strongest win.”
Towards the final, Aghayev beat in qualification round Ivan Martinac from Croatia (3-0).
In the 1/8 stage, he beat Latvian Ruslan Sadikov (4-1).
In the quarterfinal Agayev won Erman Eltemur from Turkey (3-2) and in the semifinal, Azerbaijani sportsman defeated Iranian Bahman Askari Ghoncheh (3-0).
The tournament was held in the city of the UAE from February 14 to 16.
It should be noted that Agayev is eleven-time European champion in this discipline.
Karate is among the most popular sports in Azerbaijan. Over the past years, Azerbaijani karate athletes been the winners of a number of prestigious international tournaments, European and World Championships.
WKF is the only karate federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee, whose main objective is to combine the basic style of karate under the general rules of the competition and enter into the program of the Olympic Games.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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