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Sports History



Labor skills and physical activities carried out by people, the types of combat and fight like wrestling, running, jumping, weightlifting, swimming, paddle, shooting an arrow, rattle the saber, spear throw, etc. sports may be accepted as the first kinds of sport. There is no doubt that all the nations had such kind of sports. It is impossible to say something exact about where and when the fist sports competitions were held. On the basis of archaeological findings, it is possible to say that the athletes had a wrestling as the first competition. The most ancient information about it dates back to XXVI - XXVII centuries BC. In Gilgamesh legend of the VIII century the reference sites of the wrestling at third millennium BC in Sumer.
Wrestling has been popular since ancient times as the traditional sport. Word of the Azerbaijani people and stories, written monuments is about more than wrestling competitions. Ancient written monuments of Azerbaijani people say a lot of about the wrestling competitions. In Kitabi- Dede Gorgut the reference was made to other combat competitions besides wrestling.  These fights in many cases were as of competitions type, and it was clearly noted.The wrestling competitions which had an ancient history in Azerbaijan were further arranged in special places – zorkhana.The ancient Turkic-speaking peoples had spent the major portion of their lives on the horse, at riding. Race competitions, wrestling on horse, sable tricks, yambaqapma, chovqan buzqa etc   sports competitions were wide-spread among turkic peoples. Sport has started to develop at professional level over time. Thus, at the beginning of the XX century the names of Azerbaijani wrestlers Sali Suleiman and Rashid Yusifov were known all over the world. They demonstrated great skill at wrestling competitions in the world\'s largest cities like Washington, Paris, Chicago, London, Rome. Sali Suleiman is considered to be the most dangerous rival of the world wrestlers. He was called as  lion of Dagestan, Favorite of the East. No one could win this wrestler ether in motherland, or in foreign countries. Sali Suleyman easily could tear iron chains, and make a knot from iron rods. Legends told about him are still disseminated everywhere.
Rashid Yusifov also showed good results in wrestling and was not back from his compatriot. By the end of 1922, the Azerbaijan Trade Unions joined the physical training and sports activities. This organization has created its own line of sports associations, and assisted in the establishment of material-technical base of sport in the republic. In 1923, the first sport newspaper - The red sportsman began to be published. In the same year the school preparing teachers of physical training was opened in Baku. The teachers and specialists on different kinds of sport in school were trained. It gave impetus to the development to other kinds sport besides traditional ones in the republic.  For example, if in 1920, there were two basketball societies, but more than 52 basketball teams were organized in 1924, and two years later the number of these groups reached 300. At that time at the Azerbaijan Oil and Chemistry Institute and the Central House of Physical Culture boxing circles were established. Swimming, diving, water polo, and other kinds of sports competitions, holidays often took place in the country. Many sports fan had been trained at wrestling and weightlifting clubs. In 1924, Reza Bakhshaliyev created the so-called Kustrud wrestling club and French wrestling –modern free-style wrestling group was organized here . Members of the Kustrud used to fight then well-known in our country and beyond wrestlers like Sali Suleiman, Rashid Yusifov, Fyodor Margentanger, Andrey Lodz, Eldar Goychayli and many others. Besides Kustrud sports associations such as Dinamo, Temp, Locomotive and the Central House of Physical Culture were functioned.Besides sports competitions of different kinds other tournaments were also organized in the republic. For example, in 1925, the competition under the name of Olympic Games was organized in Baku. According to program of this Olympiad various types of athletics were included in competitions. This is a proof of propagation of Olympic ideals and great interest to the Olympic Games at the conditions of impossibility to join the World Games, among young people. The history of the Olympic Games in Azerbaijan can be divided into four periods: 1) the period of participation of Azerbaijani sportsmen in the composition of the USSR team at the Olympic Games (1952-1988), 2) the period of participation in the composition of the team of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (1988-1992); 3) period of participation as an independent state of Azerbaijan in the InternationaOlympic Movement l (IOM) (1992-1997), the period of revival of the Olympic movement - the new period (1997-2011).
Azerbaijani sportsmen participated in the structure of Olympic team of the USSR at 9 Olympic Games with 46 athletes and won 10 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze medals. The silver medal won by free-style wrestler R. Mammadbayov at the Olympic Games 1952 in Helsinki must be regarded as the first success for athletes of Azerbaijan in the Olympic Games. At the next contests Y. Konovalov, A. Kornelyuk (athletics), I.Rıskal, V. Lantratova (volleyball) V. Mineyev (modern pentathlon), A.Ibrahimov (freestyle wrestling), R. Shabanova, L. Subina, L. Savkina (handball), I. Mammadov, B. Koretski (fencing), İ. Ponamaryov (football) and others increased the prestige of athletes of Azerbaijan with the successful performance.
In Barcelona Olympics in 1992 Azerbaijan was represented by 5 athletes in the national team of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), two of our sportsmen N. Huseynov (judo), V. Belinki (gymnast) showed good results and awarded the title of Olympic champion. In 1992, by establishment of the NOC and its recognition the new era begins at country\'s Olympic movement. Now, as an independent state Azerbaijan joined the International Olympic Movement (IOM), and had an opportunity to demonstrate their full potential in sports. For the first time at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, our national team consisting of 23 members acted as national Olympic team under the tricolor banner of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In these games at which 197 countries attended, Republic of Azerbaijan won the 61st place, which can be considered as the success of our sport. The silver medal won by free style wrestler N. Abdullaev in the competitions of the Olympic Games was the 1st medal won by National Olympic team of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
President  of the National Olympic Ilham Aliyev could manage to create a major turning point in in the positive direction of the activity of the Committee and stimulated the rapid development of the Olympic Movement in our country and provided its joining to the International Games Movement. Azerbaijan\'s National Olympic Committee within a short time has achieved successful results acting consistently for the development of  the Olympic Movement and sport in country. In order to  prepare athletes for the XXVII Summer Olympic Games in Sydney at  a high level and to provide participation at official international competitions the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated  January 20,1998 has opened great opportunities to make more purposeful work of National Olympic Committee. At the result of on time preparatory work at the state level 31 people from Azerbaijani sportsmen took part in 10 sport kinds at the XXVII Summer Olympic Games (2000).At the XXVIII Summer Olympic Games held in Sydney, Australia Azerbaijani sportsmen showed good results (15IX2000). Z. Meftahaddinova (stand shooting) and N. Abdullaev (freestyle wrestling) won the gold, V.A.Alekberov (boxing) the bronze medal. At Sydney Olympic Games where 199 countries participated, Azerbaijan gained the 34 and among the European countries 23rd place and that was a great victory of our sportsmen.So the Decree “On preparation of the XXVIII Summer Olympic Games  signed by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev (05VI2003) created good base for better preparation, organization and provision of participation of Azerbaijani sportsmen at XXVIII Summer Olympic Games at a higher level and in the organized form.
From 130 sportsmen began preparation for participation at the XXVIII Summer Olympic Games, 38 got the honor to participate at games. Of these, 36 persons got the permission (license) and two people with the decision of the International Federation of sports on swimming were allowed to participate at games. Our republic was represented at XXVIII Summer Olympic Games, with 38 athletes representing 12 kinds of sports. Compared to XXVII Olympic Games in Sydney, our country participated in the competitions on 3 new kinds like gymnastics, taekwondo, fencing, and with more athletes. At XXVIII Summer Olympic Games, the national Olympic team won 1 gold and 4 bronze medals and among 202 country-participants took 37th place,  and for quality – 50th place. In these achievements medals of our team members, F. Mansurov (Greco-Roman) - gold, I.Ashumova’s (bullets), Z. Meftahatdinova (stand), A. Mamedov, F. Aslanov (boxing) bronze, played a special role. At XXVIII Summer Olympic Games (1952-2004) 140 athletes were attended. And total 15 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals were won. The independent Azerbaijani athletes won 9 (including 3 gold, 1 silver, 5 bronze) medals in the Summer Olympic Games.  In 2007, the 36 international competitions have been organized in our republic. During the 7 months of the current year18 international competitions had been held.
During the period of independence the number of sports facilities and physical education and health complexes exceeded 9 thousands. Since independence Azerbaijani sportsmen have won 2615 medals (897 gold, 705 silver, 1013 bronze) in the world cup competitions.   

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