2022 Baku Grand Slam: 50 Years of Judo in Azerbaijan

Day one of Baku's 2022 Judo Grand Slam competition was cause for celebration, as Azerbijan marks 50 years since the creation of its judo federation.

A spectacular opening ceremony was launched by Mr Farid Gayibov, the Republic of Azerbaijan's Minister of Youth and Sport, Dr Laszlo Toth, the IJF's Vice President, and Rovshan Rustamov, Azerbaijan Judo Federation's Vice President.

The crowd went wild for the final of the -60kg category, as Azerbijan's young star Balabay Aghayev took the win in Golden score, sending the local fans into raptures.

Mr Rashad Nabiyev, President of the Azerbaijan Judo Federation awarded the medals.

“When you fight in front of your home crowd, with their support, it motivates you and you can not think about losing, even if you are tired you don’t feel it, you can push forward to success”

At -48kg, Italy’s Milani took on French European Champion Shirine Boukli -- in what turned out to be a short-lived contest.

A powerful driving hip throw scored Ippon in the first 30 seconds, and gave France their first medal of the tournament.

Mr Farid Gayibov, the Republic of Azerbaijan's Minster of Youth and Sport was on hand to award the medals.

“We practice a difficult sport, this is life and I [will] use that for the next world championships and the next masters and for my career. Today was a good day and I’ll take that and I will become the best”

At -52kg, Uzbekistan’s Diyora Keldiyorova secured a tactical victory to win her second Grand Slam title this year

She was awarded her medals by Dr Laszlo Toth, Vice President of the IJF.

At -66kg, Denis Vieru of Moldova came out on top.

The medals were awarded by Mr Madat Guliyev, Republic of Azerbaijan Minister of Defence Industry

2019 World Champion Christa Deguchi looked back to her best, at -57kg. She was awarded the gold medal by Mr Florin Daniel Lascau, the IJF's Head Referee Director.

The crowd had plenty to cheer for, as their country's gold medal was bolstered by two fantastic bronze medals for local hero Orkhan Safarov, who scored Ippon with a moment of brilliance.

To top it off, Karamat Huseynov achieved a thunderous Ippon -- showing how Azerbaijan has become one of the strongest and most passionate Judo nations in the world.

Be sure not to miss day two!