By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijani karate fighters have won two medals at Unmei Cup-2021 in Belarus.
The karate fighters of the Azerbaijan Emergencies Ministry's Sports and Recreation Center enriched the country's medal haul with gold and silver medals.
More than 450 karate fighters from seven countries took part in the international karate tournament.
Nijat Karimli (61 kg) took gold in kumite and silver in the individual championship. Nihad Karimzade (70 kg) also became a silver medalist.
Their first coaches were honored coaches, 6th degree black belt holders Akif Kerimov and Rafael Mammadov.
Now young karate fighters are trained by the two-time world champion in karate, holder of 8th degree black belt, first vice-president of the Azerbaijan Taekwondo Federation, director of the Sports and Health Center under the Azerbaijan Ministry of Emergencies, Colonel Fizuli Musayev.
The coach has recently met with karate fighters and wished them further success. Notably, the national karate fighters will take part in Karate 1 Youth League to be held in Cyprus this June.
Azerbaijani karate team is considered one of the strongest teams in Europe and the World.
The National Karate Federation was founded in 1994. Three years later, it became a full member of the World Karate Federation (WKF).
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. It is the largest and most powerful karate organization in the world, comprising 183 countries and more than 50 million members.
Over the past few years, national karate fighters have won prestigious international tournaments, European and World championships.
Rafael Aghayev has managed to achieve all of the highest sporting victories in karate; he is multiple European Champion and multiple World Champion.
For outstanding sports achievements, he has repeatedly received awards from the leadership of the National Olympic Committee, the Youth and Sport Ministry of Azerbaijan Republic.
The President of the World Karate Federation, Antonio Espinosa, called him "Diamond of the Karate World."
Rafael Aghayev won a gold medal in karate (kumite) competitions at the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.
He secured the gold medal thanks to a victory over Pakistani Ghulam Abbas in the 75kg division final.
Irina Zaretska is also known for her numerous victories at the international area.
She is the owner of the gold medal at the Premier League Karate1 2014 in Almere, bronze at "World Karate Cup 2014", gold at the Premier League Karate1 2015 in Istanbul, silver at the Premier League Karate1 2017, etc.
Azerbaijani karate fighters showed their best at the 29th European Championship among cadets and juniors. Rafael Aghayev (60 kg) and Jeyhun Aghasiyev (65 kg) won gold medals among cadets for the first time. Rashad Huseynov (65 kg) grabbed bronze among juniors.
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