By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijani karate fighter Aykhan Mamayev won a first medal for the Azerbaijani team at the Islamic Solidarity Games being held in Palembang, Indonesia from September 22 to October 2.
54 athletes competing in nine disciplines represent Azerbaijan at the third Islamic Solidarity Games in such sports as athletics, weightlifting, karate, taekwondo, badminton, tennis, archery, swimming, and wushu.
Mamayev, who is vying in the 84 kg weight bracket, claimed the first gold medal at the Games on September 23, surpassing athletes from Iraq, Libya and Egypt.
Another gold medal was brought to Azerbaijan by karate fighter Rafael Agayev, weighing around 75 kg.
Two silver medals have already been won by the national team's karate fighters Niyazi Aliyev, weighing around 67 kg, and Shahin Atamov, competing in the 75 kg weight category.
The Azerbaijani team consists of outstanding athletes, including Hayle Ibrahimov, Layes Adbullayeva, Intiqam Zairov, Sardar Hasanov, Silvia Angelova, Zulfuqar Suleymanov, Radik Isayev, Gunay Agakishiyeva, Rafael Agayev, Shahin Atamov, and Aykhan Mamayev.
European weightlifting champion Intiqam Zairov was a flag-bearer for Azerbaijan at the opening ceremony, which was attended by over 50 Azerbaijani team participants, on September 22.
Azerbaijan was chosen as a host country for the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games, due from June 23 to July 2, 2017. The Games will bring together athletes from 57 countries and will be held under the slogan "Solidarity is our power".
The Islamic Solidarity Games is a multinational, multi-sport event involving the elite athletes of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN with 57 member states spread over four continents.
The first of the ISG tournaments was held in 2005 in Saudi Arabia with an Olympic-style competition aimed at showing Muslim sports prowess and featuring 6,000 athletes.
The second event, originally scheduled to take place in October 2009 in Iran, and later re-scheduled for April 2010, was cancelled after a dispute emerged between Iran and the Arab countries.