The world qualifying taekwondo tournament is completed in Paris, France. According to the Youth, Sports and Tourism Ministry’s press-service, 280 athletes from 90 countries, including Azerbaijan, have competed in the tournament. Azerbaijan national team was represented by Aynura Mammadova (49 kg), Matanat Hasanova (57 kg), world champion 2001 Niyamaddin Pashayev (68 kg) and silver winner of the European championship 2002 Rashad Ahmadov (80 kg).
It was Rashad Ahmadov, who ranked third and succeeded in gaining the only Olympic license for the team. Azerbaijani girls were ousted at the early stage of the competition.
Niyamaddin Pashayev could hardly go through Columbian Sezar Duka (1:0). In the second round, the ex-champion unexpectedly found himself defeated to Camil Musa Khuffat from Jordan (6:3).
Altogether, 28 athletes have gained licenses to Athens. Four of them were Koreans, three – from France, Venezuela and Italy. 18 countries gained the Olympic licenses.
Azerbaijani taekwandoists still have chances to gain the licenses to Olympic games at the continental tournaments. The European tournament will take place in Baku 21-22 February 2004. The owners of 24 licenses will be known in Baku. In total, 124 athletes will compete in Athens.
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