Tokyo 2020: Rafael Aghayev reaches semifinals
By Laman Ismayilova
Azerbaijani karateka Rafael Aghayev (75 kg) has defeated his Australian rival Tsuneari Yahiro in Group B - 5:0.
He also won over Germany's Noah Bitsch 2:1 in Group B. The karate fighter will face Nurkanat Ajiganov (Kazakhstan).
So, the karate fighter has reached semifinals at the 2020 Summer Olympics.
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.
Some 44 athletes are representing the country at the Summer Olympics being held from July 23 to August 8.
Nine judokas, seven wrestlers, five athletes in rhythmic gymnastics group performances, one athlete in individual all-around competitions, five boxers, three karate fighters, two athletes, two swimmers, two taekwondo fighters, two athletes in artistic gymnastics, one sport shooter, one road cycler, one fencer, one badminton player, one triathlete and one trap shooter are striving for victory in Japan.
Azerbaijani athletes have already won three medals at the 2020 Summer Olympics. The bronze medals came from wrestler Rafig Huseynov, judoka Iryna Kindzerska and boxer Loren Alfonso Dominguez.
National judoka Rustam Orujov and taekwondo fighter Farida Azizova became standard-bearers for Azerbaijan.
They were accompanied by a delegation of 24 people, along with the chief de-mission of the national team and the sports manager of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Farid Mansurov.
At the parade, the Azerbaijani team was the fifth in a row after Greece, the team of refugees formed by the International Olympic Committee, Iceland, and Ireland.
International Olympic Committee has allowed athletes to temporarily go without masks during the Tokyo Games.
The victory ceremony protocol was adapted to make it possible for media representative to take photos of athletes while they are celebrating the proudest moment of their careers.
Moreover, the silver and bronze medalists now have permission to join the winner for a group photo on the podium's gold-medal step.
Formerly scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 2020, the event was postponed amid COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020. This is the first time that the Olympic Games have been postponed and rescheduled, rather than cancelled.
Tokyo Olympics marks the second time that Japan has hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the first being also in Tokyo in 1964, making this the first city in Asia to host the Summer Games twice.
The 2020 Games feature competitions including 3x3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and madison cycling, as well as further mixed events.
Karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding are added to the Olympic Games program.
Dropped from the Olympics after the 2008 Beijing Games baseball and softball are returning to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
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