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Azerbaijan sets tone for 2018 with hopeful team

18 Aug 2017 10:10

 by Mark Pickering - IJF    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation
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2018 World Championships hosts Azerbaijan bid to make an impression with blend of youthful élan and wily vets in Budapest. Azerbaijan have picked arguably their most complete and capable team of all time for the World Championships.

Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Rustam Orujov and Elmar Gasimov lead the team and are backed up by European champions Elkhan Mammadov and Hidayat Heydarov. Their women’s ranks are making progress with eight selected including a trio of judoka who previously represented Mongolia.

Azerbaijan are making strikes at the cadet and youth level and are investing heavily in bringing their women’s programme up to the level of their world-renowned men’s team.

From the flair of 20-year-old Heydarov and the intelligence and grace of Orujov, there is steel and grit from Gasimov and Mammadov and determination from their women to come out of the shadow of their male teammates and prove themselves on the world stage.

This means that Azerbaijan will also have a major part to play in the first Mixed Team Event and could go all the way on the final day in Budapest.

Azerbaijan and the familiar IJF World Judo Tour host city of Baku will learn lessons from Budapest on and off the tatami and on 3 September the IJF flag will be passed to the Azeri delegation with just under a year until the judo family reconvenes in the land of fire for the 2018 instalment of the World Judo Championships.

Discover the best athletes from Azerbaijan in country profile.

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Hidayet Heydarov (AZE) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Nijat Shikhalizada (AZE) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation
  • Orkhan Safarov (AZE) - World Championships Budapest (2017, HUN) - © IJF Media Team, International Judo Federation

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