By Tunar Abuzar | For the Azerbaijan National Paralympic Committee
Azerbaijan have a good chance of claiming a place at the top of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo Grand Prix medal table at home in Baku from Monday (13 May), according to national women’s coach Ramin Ibrahimov.
Ibrahimov said he does not underestimate the strength of the opposition, but with a few days to go before the competition, held for the first time in Azerbaijan, the women’s team were in top form.
“It makes us excited and proud that Paralympians from all over the world are coming to Azerbaijan,” said Ibrahimov. “It is a great honour for us and competing in our own country gives us more motivation to win.
“Many champions will be competing so it will be challenging. But we have prepared thoroughly and we have our own champions too. We aim to hear our national anthem played often.”
Ibrahimov picked out countries such as Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Turkey among the team they will have to beat to win medals. But he said that South Korea’s decision not to compete offered Azerbaijan an extra opportunity.
A good performance in Baku will give competitors a chance to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“During our training, we have kept the Paralympics in mind. It is one of the reasons the Grand Prix is so important to us and why we will be pushing hard to win,” added Ibrahimov.
Over 240 athletes from 36 countries are expected to compete at the IBSA Judo Grand Prix from 13-14 May.
Entrance to the competition is free and the competition will be broadcast live on IBSA Judo’s Facebook page
and IBSA’s YouTube channel.
Azerbaijan will be represented by 13 male and 10 female athletes.