Baku, February 23, AZERTAC
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received the members of the national Greco-Roman wrestling team who won the World Cup in Iran.
Saluting the sportsmen, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Dear athletes!
Members of the Wrestling Federation!
First of all, I want to sincerely congratulate you on your great victory. Azerbaijan has won the World Cup in Greco-Roman wrestling. This is a great historic victory. This is a truly historic victory because our Greco-Roman wrestlers have won the Cup for the first time. This shows once again how strong the Azerbaijani wrestling school is. Our wrestlers show the highest results in various international competitions, won two gold medals at the Olympic Games in London. In general, Azerbaijani wrestling is now at the highest level on a global scale.
The World Cup is joined by the strongest teams of the world. We have defeated the strongest teams of the world. Our national flag was raised and the national anthem was played in our honor. It is indeed an event pleasing every citizen of Azerbaijan, a great historic victory. It is evidence that things in the Wrestling Federation are going very well and that work is done properly.
The Wrestling Federation is the Azerbaijani leader in terms of the medals and high results achieved in the Olympic Games, world championships and other international competitions. This is so, and I give this a high assessment because wrestling is the favorite and most popular sport in Azerbaijan. It is our national sport.
Of course, it is quite likely that after every victory our children and teenagers will be even more enthusiastic attending wrestling clubs, will want to become wrestlers so that to worthily represent Azerbaijan, become champions like you and climb to the highest step of the podium.
I am pleased with the work of the Federation. In general, the attention being paid to the field of sports in Azerbaijan is bearing fruit. Azerbaijan is a sporting country. All influential international sports organizations, the International Olympic Committee, the European Olympic Committee, sports federations of the world are noting that Azerbaijan has achieved great successes in the field of sport, and it is really the case. Just note that in Olympic Games, Azerbaijan is in 30th place on a global scale. In Youth Olympic Games we are in 10th place among 200 countries. Azerbaijan has played host to European and world championships at the highest level, and this is acknowledged by all the guests. Every year our athletes lead in terms of the number of medals. The number of medals won both in Olympic and non-Olympic sports is growing every year.
Azerbaijan is creating the sports infrastructure. There would be no success without this infrastructure. Modern Olympic centers are built in all our regions. There are magnificent Olympic sports facilities in Baku. Sport occupies a very important place in our public policy. Various programs have been adopted. The development of sport is a public policy. The ideas expressed at the recent General Assembly of the European Olympic Committee in Baku and the work carried out in Azerbaijan confirm my words.
These results are natural, because the work done has been made possible thanks to the joint activities of federations, clubs, the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Our situation is that, unlike many countries, all bodies responsible for sports and for the development of sports have the same goal. And there is a proper approach to management.
I am confident that our athletes will continue to delight us. It is gratifying that all our athletes, including those present here today, grew up in the period of independence. This is a sign of our independence.
Azerbaijan has always had strong athletes. But if we recall the Soviet period, we can see that we did not have any major sporting successes. Only in the period of independence was Azerbaijan able to achieve its best results on the world stage. Only in the period of independence did our Olympic, world and European champions assert themselves. Their number is gradually increasing now. Look how many Olympic champions we have today. We have never had so many Olympic champions before.
Sport is developing dynamically in the independent Azerbaijan. I have already spoken about this. The advantage of independence is manifested in various fields. First of all, the Azerbaijani people are free people determining their own destiny. Today the Azerbaijani reality is that every citizen of Azerbaijan is proud to be a citizen of this country. This positive dynamics, positive development occurs also in sports, and this is only natural. We have made progress in all areas, including sports. In sports the results are seen more clearly, because they are confirmed by the number of medals and victories of our athletes in competitions.
I would like to go back to your success again. Greco-Roman wrestling has always been very popular in Azerbaijan. In recent years we have had a very strong team.
Victory in the World Cup is a huge event, because it is a team victory. It shows that the world’s strongest athletes are not just one or two wrestlers, but a team, a group of athletes. Your rivals were also the strongest athletes of the world. By showing great skill, professionalism and love of the country, you have achieved this victory and delighted us all.
Of course, I know that you are also preparing very hard for the first European games upcoming in Baku this year. I do hope that your performance in the World Cup is repeated in June. The Azerbaijani people look forward to your victories. It really is a great historic achievement. We will host the first European Games at the level of Summer Olympic Games. When I talked about this two years ago, some people did not believe that in a short time, in just two and a half years, Azerbaijan would be able to complete all the preparatory work at a high level. But today we can say that all of our sports facilities are either ready or will be ready very soon. All organizational matters are being addressed, and Azerbaijan will celebrate a major sporting event in June.
Of course, the Azerbaijani team will be represented by many athletes. Our main hopes, of course, are pinned on our wrestlers. The summer Olympic Games are not too far off either. The Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro next year. I know that serious preparations are under way. I would like to note once again that victory in such a prestigious competition suggests that we will continue to win.
I cordially greet all of you again. I want to express my confidence that you will continue to show devotion to the motherland and the people, and delight us with new victories.
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Member of the national team Rafig Huseynov and senior coach Nuraddin Rajabov thanked the head of state for the state attention to sports.
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President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you. It really is a great victory. This victory shows once again that our wrestlers are the strongest in the world. This is the actual result of this victory.
I am very glad that our Greco-Roman wrestlers and our female wrestlers have delighted us. I also highly appreciate the activity of female wrestlers. The successes achieved in this area are very delightful. In the past we did not have female wrestling at all. Today, however, our women have also ascended to higher levels and are worthily representing Azerbaijan in the world. Thus, Azerbaijan is a world leader in all three types of wrestling. This is indisputable truth. We have achieved this leadership over the past few years. I have noted that wrestling is the most favorite and most popular sport in Azerbaijan. It is the national sport, but we have never had so many victories in international competitions, world and European championships and Olympic Games. This was made possible thanks to the work being done.
I want to congratulate the athletes, coaches, sports professionals and the management of the Wrestling Federation again. I want to emphasize their activities.
This victory demonstrates the power of the Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani people once again.
It shows how talented, strong and loyal to the Motherland the Azerbaijani youth is. It is not enough to be just a professional wrestler to achieve a victory. There must be a desire to win, there has to be love of the country, and the patriotic spirit should be at a high level. And have it all. Today the Azerbaijani youth is educated in the national spirit. The Azerbaijani youth is devoted to its state and nation. Today the Azerbaijani youth protects our borders. Today the Azerbaijani youth deals crushing blows to the enemy. Today the Azerbaijani youth raises Azerbaijan’s sporting glory in the world. This pleases me both as President of Azerbaijan and as President of the National Olympic Committee. Our young people will lead our country in the future. They should be patriotic, competent, educated and physically strong to further develop Azerbaijan. Such victories, of course, further reinforce this confidence. So I attach great importance to this victory. You returned home yesterday, and we are meeting with you today. I wish you all the best and new victories.
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In conclusion, a picture was taken.