Another world wrestling championship, this time organized in Belgrade, Serbia, has gone down in history. The competition held on September 16-24 had a double importance. Thus, the wrestlers had the opportunity to win a license to the Paris Summer Olympic Games in addition to medals. For this reason, the attention of wrestling fans was focused on the fight taking place in "Stark Arena".
Azerbaijan’s national Greco-Roman wrestling team attracted attention with a brilliant performance at the world championship. The team saw the result of perfect preparation the competition. It was in Belgrade that the team saw the benefits of training camps organized at a high level and encounters with strong competitors. The team had given a signal of future success by taking the 2nd place in the team score at the European Championship.
"The Classics" started the world championship in such a way that they shook the ground. The most experienced and titled members of the team more than justified the trust. Thus, Eldaniz Azizli (55 kg) won the title of world champion for the third time in his career, and Rafig Huseynov (82 kg) for the second time. As a result, Azerbaijan’s National Anthem was played twice in one day in Belgrade. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan’s third finalist Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg) lost in the decisive match and received the silver medal. However, the young wrestler pleased Azerbaijani wrestling fans by winning a license to the Olympics.
On the last day of the competition, Murad Mammadov (63 kg) and Hasrat Jafarov (67 kg) finished the world championship in second place. Hasrat also qualified for Paris 2024.
We can say that the final result is magnificent. Azerbaijan’s Greco-Roman wrestling team crossed the finish line of the World Cup with 2 gold and 3 silver medals and was at the top with 120 points. The team was 18 points ahead of its closest follower, Iran, and became the strongest on the planet for the first time in its history. The team set a new record in the name of Azerbaijani wrestling both in terms of points and the number of medals. It is also the first time that one team will be represented in 5 finals of the world championship.
Interestingly, this team was formed over the past 4 years. Head coach Alexander Tarakanov built a perfect team from the synthesis of experienced wrestlers and promising young people. It is no coincidence that the national team has been ranked in the first two places in the European and World Championships in the last 2 years. This is a sign that the team is fully ready to fight for bigger goals.
The team won two licenses for Paris 2024, although it surpassed all competitors in the team score at the World Championship. To reach the maximum, it is necessary to obtain 4 more licenses. So this will be the next goal of the team. There are enough advantageous conditions for this. Thus, the European Olympic Qualification tournament will be held in Baku in April 2024. Taking advantage of the "native walls" factor while relying on strong fan support, it should not be a difficult mission. Azerbaijani wrestlers only need to reach the finals, because according to the regulation, only the participants of the decisive meeting will be entitled to the license.
In fact, the next test should not be difficult either. Because the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will take place in May, will be hosted by fraternal Türkiye. The wrestlers who will take the first 3 places in each weight in the competition to be organized in Istanbul will be the last qualifiers for Paris 2024. In short, the path of Azerbaijani wrestling to Paris seems quite smooth. The athletes just need to seriously prepare and make the most of the upcoming advantages.