Many types of sports are developing well in our country, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said addressing the meeting with the country’s athletes who succeeded in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games, Trend reports.
"To become fourth in the 5th Islamic Solidarity Games is a tremendous achievement. This achievement shows that our previous successes were not accidental. As you know, our team won the first place in the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku five years ago. And that was also natural because home soil always provides extra support to athletes. This time, as a result of a very close competition, we finished the Games in fourth place. Let me also say that the countries were represented by the strongest athletes in the Games. Our athletes have once again shown the strength of our country by winning 99 medals, 29 of which are gold medals.
I should also note that it is very gratifying that our athletes won medals in a total of 19 sports. This shows that many types of sports are developing well in our country. Of course, coming first – if it is at all possible to say so – are wrestlers, who have won 23 medals, including eight gold. And this is also natural because wrestling is our national sport and we have traditionally been successful in wrestling. Coming second are representatives of gymnastics. Our athletes have won 17 medals in three types of gymnastics, including eight gold. In third place are non-Olympic sports – kickboxing athletes. The number of medals they have won is 15, and three of them are gold medals. So this is a huge achievement indeed because more than 50 countries participated in these Games and, as I said earlier, the competition was very close.
I told you in our meeting on the opening day of the Games in Konya that I was confident that you would represent our country with dignity. I am glad that this is exactly what happened. Once again, not only the entire Muslim world but also the whole world saw the power of our athletes. Every time our Flag is raised and our National Anthem is played, every citizen of Azerbaijan feels rightly proud. Every single victory enhances our glory even more. I told you during the meeting in Konya that you had additional responsibility because you would be representing a winning country in the Games. This is a factor of pride, but at the same time, it is a great responsibility. Realizing this responsibility, you represented our country with dignity even though, unfortunately, the judges were sometimes unfair and biased against you. I watched the competitions as much as I could and saw how much injustice was shown towards our athletes. Despite that, you tried to prove your strength by taking correct steps – both yourself and your coaches – and you succeeded," the head of state said.