Azerbaijan bounce back in Baku 2015 wrestling event

Azerbaijan surged to the top of the overall medal table at the Baku 2015 wrestling test event with a superb performance on the second day of competition here today. In front of another decent sized crowd at the recently-renovated venue, the Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation Cup provided an excellent spectacle as the hosts produced a fruitful display in the junior Greco-Roman discipline to the delight of the home supporters. The evening began with yet another all-Azerbaijani affair as Nofal Babayev edged a close encounter with compatriot Azar Nasibli in the 50 kilogrammes category to take gold by virtue of a 4-3 winning margin. In a polar opposite bout to the previous gold medal match, home favourite Tabriz Yusifzada cruised to a commanding victory over Iranian opponent Aghania Mohammadreza to give the hosts yet more success on home soil. “My goal was to become a champion and I achieved this,” Yusifzada said. “I was expecting to take the first place.” They continued to enjoy their evening as Islam Abbasov clinched gold in the 84kg division, but despite the backing of a vociferous crowd, Azerbaijan did not quite have it all their own way. Building on a surprisingly successful day of competition yesterday, the Georgians were once again in fine form as Levani Kavjaradze secured the 60kg title in an intense bout with Azerbaijan’s Karim Cafarov. The contest provided a great degree of entertainment as both athletes went on the offensive but Kavjaradze’s defensive game proved too strong for his Azerbaijani counterpart. Georgia’s second gold of the evening came when Ramazi Zoidze beat Ukraine’s Maksym Yevtushenko 2-0 in a low-scoring 66kg match-up, while Zviadi Pataridze maintained his nation’s excellent showing at the test event so far by sealing gold in the 120kg category. Elsewhere, Turkey’s Burhan Akbudak took the 74kg honours but the day belonged to the Azerbaijani wrestlers, and coach Shaban Donat revelled in a good day’s work for his team. “I am pleased with the results but we don't want to stop,” he said. “We plan to participate in Rio 2016 and, of course, in Baku 2015, which is important for Azerbaijan. “We prepared for the competition seriously but training is not the only thing that we need for victory. “There should be love for the sport that you do, love for your country and love for your flag.”