Namig Abdullayev: "I didn't think so" - INTERVIEW

9 April 2024 13:40
Namig Abdullayev: "I didn't think so" - INTERVIEW

Namig Abdullayev, a member of the Executive Committee of the Azerbaijan Wrestling Federation, gave an interview to

- The Azerbaijani national team in freestyle wrestling won 5 licenses at the European Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Baku. Did you expect this before the race?

- This was a task put forward by the management. Our wrestlers had already participated in many competitions. Each of them deserved a license. Aliabbas Rzazade (57 kg) won in the semi-finals against North Macedonian Vladimir Yegorov, whom he lost in the European Championship. The opponents of Haji Aliyev (65 kg), Turan Bayramov (74 kg), Osman Nurmagomedov (86 kg) and Giorgi Meshvildishvili (125 kg) were not easy. But our wrestlers fought well until the end and finished the tournament with a good result.

- Then you have full confidence even before the tournament...

- They had potential. Such a victory was achieved as a result of the attention and care shown to them by the coaching staff and the management. From feeding the team to training camps, everything was held at a high level. That's why we believed them all. Because each of our wrestlers was able to secure this license. We were expecting results, but I didn't expect so many licenses. Because the athlete can get injured and sick.

- Which of the 5 obtained licenses would you distinguish the most?

- 3 of our 5 wrestlers - Aliabbas Rzazade, Turan Bayramov and Osman Nurmagomedov are young. Haji Aliyev is our leader. We always had expectations from him. Every time Haji stepped on the mat, he fought with well-known and powerful wrestlers. Its sports history is very rich. We were waiting for a license from Aliyev. Of course, there is also the age factor. Also, Haji had injuries going into this tournament. It is also difficult to recover from this injury. Haji himself mentioned that he could not wrestle as he wanted. I hope that Aliyev will prepare for the Olympic Games without injury.

- What do you expect from the team at the Paris-2024 Summer Olympic Games?

- It is difficult to predict. Like sports fans, I expect a gold medal from all of them. Because everyone goes to the Olympic Games for the grand prize. But keep in mind that the Olympics are full of surprises. There are many sensations here. For example, Mariya Stadnik missed the gold medal in Tokyo-2020 with 3 seconds left. It can be said that the same happened in the license tournament in Baku. All this means that it is not easy to make predictions about the Olympics.

- You were replaced by Khetag Gazyumov in the post of head coach. What do you think has changed in the team after this appointment?

- The team has the same wrestlers. Khetag himself knows this. They are currently working with foreign experts from a physical point of view. A year is not a long time. Khetag is an athlete who made a certain contribution to the sports history of Azerbaijan. But a new coach also needs time. He also coached the national team of Ossetia for many years. He is very experienced and a good specialist. He himself had to make a statement about the changes. American specialist Mark Alan Philip also works with our wrestlers constantly. At one time he came and went, but now he regularly works with the team. This is a change in itself, it will affect the team's performance and fitness. We want our athletes to progress in a good way, both in terms of speed and physicality.

- Our Greco-Roman and female wrestlers did not get a license at the European Olympic Qualifying Tournament. What would you associate it with?

- Necessary conditions have been created for them. Hasrat Jafarov (67 kg) and Sanan Suleymanov (77 kg) qualified for Paris-2024 at the licensed world championship held in Serbia. We had high hopes for our wrestlers in this tournament. We believed that our number of licenses would increase during the competition we hosted. But this is not the end. I am sure that they will show their strength at the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Istanbul on May 9-12. I believe that Maria Stadnik will provide the license.

- Our freestyle wrestlers will go to the French capital with a full team. How many licenses are planned for Paris 2024, including our Greco-Roman and women's wrestling teams?

- We already have 8 licenses. I would like them to provide a license at every weight in our Greco-Roman and women's team. I expect a license from them with a full team, as in freestyle wrestling. I believe that certain loopholes will be eliminated soon.

Banuchichek Huseynli