Azerbaijan wrestlers impress on first day

17 May 2017
Azerbaijan's Orkhan Nuriyev (red) competes with Kyrgyzstan's Uzur Dzhuzupbekov during the Men Greco-Roman 98Kg wrestling gold meal bout at the Baku 2017.
Azerbaijan's Orkhan Nuriyev (red) celebrates after winning against Kyrgyzstan's Uzur Dzhuzupbekov during the Men Greco-Roman 98Kg wrestling gold meal bout at the Baku 2017.

Azerbaijan opened the wrestling competition at the Islamic Solidarity Games on Wednesday by claiming four medals, but just one of them was gold.
Murad Mammadov and Rasul Chunayev bagged bronzes while Rafig Huseynov claimed silver, but it was Orkhan Nuriyev who went all the way as he finished with a gold medal around his neck.

Local hero Chunayev (71kg) had to settle for bronze after an emphatic victory over Turkey's Ilker Sonmez in front of a partisan crowd at the Heydar Aliyev Arena.

The 2015 world champion had cruised past his opponents in the first two rounds,dominating them 8-4 and 5-1, before locking horns with eventual winner Mohmmadali Geraei.

The Iranian earned a hard-fought victory to claim gold as he then beat Kyrgyz Ruslan Tsarev in a tight tactical battle.

In the men's 59kg, Kanybek Zholchubekov bagged what was Kyrgyzstan's second gold medal of the Games.

The solid Kyrgyz took no prisoners as he thoroughly dominated Uzbekistan's Isomjon Bakhramov in the final while Murad Mammadov settled for bronze.

It took the Azeri fighter just 28 seconds to twice pin Jordan's Mostafa Sultan Rayek Alqade and easily win 8-0 to claim third place alongside Turkmenistan's Seydylla Tazayev.

In the 80kg final, the explosive Huseynov managed a subtle takedown to score early, but failed to defend his lead as Yousef Ghaderian clawed his way back into the bout.

The Iranian, who finished third in the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, went on the offensive and saw off the 2011 European champion.

Bachir Sid Azara of Algeria and Burhan Akbudak of Turkey both bagged bronzes.

Finally, in the men's 98kg final, Nuriyev claimed hosts Azerbaijan's only gold medal of the day.

In a tough bout, the powerful Azeri edged out Kyrgyzstan's Uzur Dzhuzupbekov with a strong start and an even stronger finish.

In the bouts for third place, Uzbekistan's Rustam Assakalov  needed only nine seconds to defeat Tayab Raza of Pakistan while Turkey's Suleyman Demirci also claimed bronze.

The wrestling finals continue on Thursday with the men's 66kg, 75kg, 85kg and 130kg, including Olympian Sabah Shariati, representing Azerbaijan.

© AFP Services

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