Azerbaijan has a strong chance of winning medals across all men’s weight categories in the IBSA Judo Grand Prix, says national coach Ibrahim Ibrahimov
The Grand Prix, open only to Paralympic athletes with sight impairments, is to be held for the first time in Azerbaijan. The home nation men’s team consists of 13 judokas competing in seven weight categories.
Team coach Ibrahim Ibrahimov said: ”We have a very strong team and have been training hard to be in top form for this competition. We are ready and we aim to win gold medals across all weight categories.”
Among the medal hopefuls are Paralympic champions Ilham Zakiyev and Ramil Gasimov. Paralympic medalists Bayram Mustafayev and Rovshan Safarov are also in the team.
Ibrahimov has played a key role in Azerbaijan’s Paralympic judo success, training its most successful judokas over several Paralympic Games. He was given a special award by President Ilham Aliyev for his services to the development of judo in Azerbaijan.
The Grand Prix is also a critical test for those athletes fighting for a place at the 2020 Paralympics. The tournament is a Paralympic licence event, giving athletes a chance to earn their ticket to Tokyo.
The IBSA Judo Grand Prix takes place on 13 and 14 May, at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev Sports Complex. Entry to the competition is free.