Aliyev leads Azeri charge

20 May 2017
Kirghyzstan's Alibek Osmonov (red) and Azerbaijan's Haji Aliyev compete in the 61 kg wrestling event during the Baku 2017.
Azerbaijan's Jamaladdin Maqomedov (red) and Kazakhstan's Daulet Shabanbay compete in the 125 kg freestyle wrestling event during the Baku 2017.
Azerbaijan's Jamaladdin Maqomedov (red) and Kazakhstan's Daulet Shabanbay compete in the 125 kg freestyle wrestling event during the Baku 2017.

Hosts Azerbaijan had three wrestlers in the four finals of Saturday's freestyle wrestling action at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku and two of them claimed gold.

Local hero Haji Aliyev (61kg) and Jamaladdin Magomedov (125kg) both bagged gold medals for Azerbaijan, but Murtazali Raxmatulla Muslimov (70kg) had to settle for silver and Sharif Sharifov (86kg) took bronze.

Four days into the competition, the Azeris now hold fifteen wrestling medals, eight of them gold.

It was the 2014 and 2015 world champion and Rio Olympics bronze medallist Aliyev that lead the way for the home nation.

In front of a packed Heydar-Aliyev Arena, the explosive Azeri registered an emphatic 10-0 over Kyrgyz Alibek Osmonov to the delight of a partisan crowd.

In the bronze-medal bouts, both Pakistan's Abdul Wahad and Iran's Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari were victorious.
Aliyev's victory was not enough to inspire Murtazali Raxmatulla Muslimov.

In the second final of the day, the men's freestyle 70kg gold-medal bout, Iran's Mostafa Hosseinkhani struck early and fast to dominate the home hope.

In a gripping bout, Muslimov couldn't get past the Iranian's tight defense and had to settle for silver, while Dama Zafer of Turkey and Adam Batirov of Bahrain saw off their opponents to bag third place finishes.

Sharif Sharifov then claimed a bronze in the 86kg event alongside Adilet Davlumbayev of Kazakhstan.

Hassan Yazdanicharati provided Iran's second gold medal of the day before Kazakh Daulet Shabanbay nearly ruined Azerbaijan's quest for a second gold.

But Magomedov Jamaladdin managed an incredible come-from-behind victory after pinning his opponent twice in the second round and overcoming his points deficit to win in the final seconds.

© AFP Services

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