Rafael Aghayev

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Rafael Aghayev
Rəfael Ağayev Karate World Champion.JPG
Aghayev in 2016
Born (1985-03-04) 4 March 1985 (age 32)
Sumqayit Azerbaijan
Other names Panther of the East
Diamond of the Karate World
Residence Azerbaijan
Style Kumite
Teacher(s) Rahman Hatamov
Rank Black Belt, 5th dan
Website aghayev-rafael.com

Rafael Mahir oghlu Aghayev (Azerbaijani: Rafael Ağayev; born March 4, 1985 in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan SSR) is a leading Azerbaijani Karate competitor and is five times World, ten times European champion.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Graduating from the secondary school № 21 in 2003, he entered the Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Culture and Sport, the faculty of martial arts as per specialty trainer-instructor in karate under the department «Martial Arts and its techniques», which he graduated in 2007. From 2007 to 2008 he served in the armed forces on the territory of Aghjabadi District of the Republic, then he was transferred to the Central Sports Club of the Ministry of Defense as a promising sportsman.[3]

Aghayev was never faced with a question to go in for sports or not, since his father, being a professional soccer player, cultivated love for sports to him and also to two older brothers. The oldest brother Ruslan began to train in judo, the second brother Rustam involved in boxing and has good results.[3]

Aghayev, like many other boys from childhood had to find their place in life, and he began following in the footsteps of his father, from 7 years became involved in football and at the same time began karate trainings in the sports class of his first coach Rafael Mammadov, who cultivated great love of karate to him and taught the first skills. This went on for several years. Participating at the first national competitions, he was noticed and invited to train in one of the famous sports clubs of the Republic «Budokan» under the leadership of Fizuli Musayev.[3]


Already at the first championship of the Republic, Rafael won an overwhelming victory over all his rivals, and was noted by the President of the National Karate Federation Yashar Bashirov, who saw in him great potential and unusual tactics of fight. Aghayev was very diligent and had a will to win, but he lacked international experience. At the international level competitions, he first took part in the composition of the National Team in 1997, at an open World Cup in Miskolc (Hungary). Unfortunately, the first performances were not successful, but already next year he won the Open Championship of England and then hardly ever lost.[3]

At his first World Championship among Cadets and Juniors, which was held in 2001 in Athens (Greece), in the team event he went to 3rd place, and the following year became the European Champion. Thus, up to this day he holds the leadership in his weight class. Without exaggeration we can say that Aghayev is one of the strongest karate sportsmen in the world. Despite his young age, he managed to achieve all of the highest sporting victories in karate; he is multiple European Champion, repeated World Champion. He holds the record, when at one World Championship; he was able to win two gold medals. This happened in 2008 at the 18th World Championship in Tokyo, when he won in the weight category of 70 kg and the other one in the open category (open). The President of the World Karate Federation, Antonio Espinosa called him – «Diamond of the Karate World».[3]

Important role in the sports career of Aghayev played a senior team coach Hidayat Shabanov, who during more than 8 years trained him and shared with him all the joy of victory. For outstanding sports achievements at the international arena Aghayev repeatedly has received an awards from the leadership of the National Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Republic, several consecutive years he entered the ten best sportsmen of the country. From the official sponsor of the Federation, the International Bank of Azerbaijan he received the keys from a new apartment in one of the elite areas of the city, as well as automobile Audi Q7.[3]

Currently Rafael Aghayev is captain of the Azerbaijan Team, is continuing to train and perform under the guidance of new senior coach Rahman Hatamov.

In June 2015, he competed in the inaugural European Games, for the host country Azerbaijan in karate, more specifically, Kumite for 75 kilograms. He earned a gold medal.

Outside of Karate[edit]

Despite all the merits and achievements in sports Rafael in everyday life is very unpretentious and conducts a plain living.[citation needed] His sign of zodiac – Pisces. He spends his spare time watching movies, playing soccer and chatting with friends. Rafael has an amazing character, in any company he became a leader and knows how to find the only correct way out of difficult situations.[3]

The leadership of the National Karate Federation created all favorable conditions for training and performances at international competitions. Monthly scholarship is allocated for Rafael for financial stability. Calendar plan of Rafael is very eventful, because he has many fans around the world, which are waiting for his arrival with great impatience. Practically every month he receives invitations from different continents and countries of the world to conduct various educational and training seminars, team practice sessions, tournaments. The invitations also come from countries that are favorites of sport karate, such as France, Germany, Spain, the United States of America, Canada etc., where, under the scrutiny of the best specialists are studying the style and tactics of martial arts, followed by Rafael, but, despite this – Rafael Aghayev remains unconquerable.[3]


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