The European Judo Championship held in France was remembered by the historical success of the Azerbaijani national team. The judokas of Azerbaijan demonstrated that they are one of the leaders of the "Old Continent" in this sport with the success achieved on the Montpellier tatami. Traditionally, this time our male judokas left their mark on the competition by raising the flag of our country high.
Historic second place
Hidayat Heydarov (73 kg) and Zelim Kotsoyev (100 kg) in the team showed that they are the strongest in Europe by defeating all their opponents. These two gold medals gave our team the opportunity to take the 2nd place in the team score. Azerbaijani athletes, the hegemon of European judo after France, achieved a historic success. A total of 8 representatives of 14 countries managed to win the championship. Of them, only the anthems of Azerbaijan and France were played more than once. In 2020, the national team, which was 4th in the medal standings, renewed that record and achieved the best result in its history.
The record was repeated after 6 years
The winning of two gold medals by our judo team at the European Championship is a repeat of the record indicator. Until now, Azerbaijan's athletes returned from the most prestigious competition of the continent with 2 championships only once. This happened 6 years ago. In 2017, two of the judokas defeated all their opponents in Wroclaw, Poland. It is interesting that at that time success was recorded in the same weights. Along with Hidayat Heydarov, who is currently the strongest in the 73 kg weight category, Elkhan Mammadov, who knows no rivals in the 100 kg weight category, has also waved our flag at the highest level.
Absolute record from Heydarov
Hidayat Heydarov became the strongest in Europe three times with his victory in Montpellier. Until then, only one Azerbaijani judoka had achieved this victory. Hidayat repeated this record belonging to Elchin Ismayilov.
Heydarov is the second Azerbaijani judoka to become the continental champion for the second year in a row. He joined Ismayilov in this indicator as well. Elchin managed to defend the title he won in 2000 the following year.
But Hidayat was definitely the record holder. He won all three championships at the same weight. The Azerbaijani representative showed that he is the real master of 73 kg weight. Ismayilov won twice in one weight, and in his last success in a different category.
"The weight of Azerbaijan"
Speaking of weight categories, the 73 kg weight category is being "customized" by the Azerbaijan national team. In this category, three different judokas have won the championship. They won 5 gold medals. Elnur Mammadli achieved his first victory in 73 kg. Later, Rustam Orujov led in this category for many years and managed to become the best of the continent. Accepting the baton, Heydarov shows the whole Europe that this weight belongs Azerbaijan. The representative of Azerbaijan was the best of the continent three times in 60 kg, twice in 66 kg and 100 kg. As you can see, 10 of the championships coincided with three light weights (60 kg, 66 kg, 73 kg). However, by winning gold, Kotsoyev proved that Azerbaijan is capable of victories even in heavy weights, and Mammadov's achievement 6 years ago is not a coincidence.
If we look at the general list of European judo champions of Azerbaijan, Kotsoyev is the 8th athlete who has signed this. Elchin Ismayilov and Hidayat Heydarov each have 3 victories, Elnur Mammadli 2, and 5 other judokas have one victory each. Since Nazim Huseynov's first championship 30 years ago, the number of gold medals won has reached 13. Azerbaijan is 16th in Europe in this indicator. Thanks to the two gold medals in Montpellier, the team, which passed Portugal, has the strength to advance further in the next tournaments.
The European judo champions of Azerbaijan:
1993. Nazim Huseynov (60 kg)
2000. Elchin Ismayilov (60 kg)
2001. Elchin Ismayilov (60 kg)
2005. Elchin Ismayilov (66 kg)
2006. Elnur Mammadli (73 kg)
2011. Elnur Mammadli ( 81 kg)
2016. Rustam Orujov (73 kg)
2017. Elkhan Mammadov (100 kg)
2017. Hidayat Heydarov (73 kg)
2020. Orkhan Safarov (66 kg)
2022. Hidayat Heydarov (73 kg)
2023. Hidayat Heydarov (73 kg) )
2023. Zelim Kotsoyev (100 kg)
54 medals in 30 years
With the two championships won in France, the number of medals won by Azerbaijani judokas in Europe reached 54. If 13 of the awards obtained in 30 years are gold, the representatives missed this chance 16 times by losing in the final. The number of bronze medals is more - 25. The Azerbaijani team, which is 16th in Europe in the total number of awards, lags behind because it participated in competitions from some countries during the period of independence. French judokas, the leaders of the competition organized since 1951, have won 651 medals, including 239 gold medals in the previous 72 championships.
It should be noted that the 73rd European Championship will be held on April 25-28, 2024 in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia.