Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Azerbaijan claims first medals of Games in Judo and Boxing

It took eight days for Azerbaijan to win its first medal of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, which came on Friday courtesy of Iryna Kindzerska, who won bronze in Judo. Forty eight hours later, boxer Alfonso Dominguez claimed a second bronze medal for Azerbaijan.

Kindzerska was up against Xu Shian of China in the third place bout of the Women’s 78+ kilo Judo category. She beat the Chinese fighter with an Ippon to claim the bronze medal.

“Today, I was as prepared and tuned in to my fights as possible. I wanted to prove to everyone that there is women’s judo in Azerbaijan, you just need to work and work,” the 30-year-old judoka said after her bout.

Japanese judoka Sone Akira took gold medal in the same category after defeating Cuba’s Idalys Ortiz, while France’s Romane Dicko claimed the second bronze of the category to share the third place podium with the Azeri judoka.

Kindzerska’s medal, on Day 8 of the Tokyo Olympics, was Azerbaijan’s first of the Games in Japan. The country didn’t have long to wait for their second.

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Boxer Alfonso Dominguez earned Azerbaijan`s 2nd bronze medal in the Men’s Light Heavyweight (75-81kg) division on Sunday, 1 August.

The reigning European Champion Dominguez had beaten Uzbekistan’s Dilshotbek, followed by Bayram Malkan of Turkey on his way to the semi-finals.

Weighing in at 81 kilos, Dominguez was drawn against Cuban Olympic and World Champion Arlen Lopez, and lost on points in a closely fought 3-round bout at the Kokugihan Arena.

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Dominguez takes bronze along with the other semi-finalist Russian Imam Khataev, who lost his fight to Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker.

Azerbaijan at the Olympics

Azerbaijan made their Olympics debut in 1996 and has sent athletes to every Games since then. The country has won a total of 44 medals, including the two so far at the Tokyo Games. Of these, 7 were gold medals, 11 silver, and 26 bronze.

Azerbaijan’s most successful medals tally at a Summer Olympic Games was at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where they won a total of 18 medals, including one gold and seven silver.

Radik Isaev wins gold at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, awarding ceremony. Photo © Ilgar Jafarov via Wikipedia, CC By-SA 4.0


This year’s Azerbaijan Olympic squad comprises of 44 athletes, who are competing in 14 Olympic sports: judo, wrestling, rhythmic gymnastics, gymnastics, karate, boxing, taekwondo, track and field athletics, shooting, fencing, cycling, badminton, swimming, and triathlon.

Initially scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were delayed by a year due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. They instead started on 23 July 2021 and will run until 8 August.

The 2020 Summer Olympics have brought together over 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries competing in 46 different sports and 339 events.

Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus led to the Japanese government deciding to bar fans from attending events in enclosed spaces and venues. Athletes and support staff are also being tested every day.


Top images, Azerbaijani judoka Iryna Kindzerska, photo © Sabau Gabriela / International Judo Federation, and boxer Alfonso Dominguez of Azerbaijan