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Aghayev in 2016
|Born||4 March 1985|
|Other names||Panther of the East |
Diamond of the Karate World
|Rank||Black Belt, 5th dan|
Rafael Aghayev (Azerbaijani: Rafael Ağayev; born March 4, 1985 in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan SSR) is a leading Azerbaijani Karate competitor. He is a five-times World Champion, and eleven-times European Champion in his discipline.
Graduating from secondary school No. 21 in 2003, Rafael entered the field of martial arts at the Azerbaijan State Academy of Physical Culture and Sport, as a specialty trainer-instructor in karate, before graduating in 2007. From 2007 to 2008 he served in the Azerbaijani Armed Forces forces in the Aghjabadi District, before being transferred to the Central Sports Club of the Ministry of Defence due to his status as a promising sportsman.
Aghayev had always intended to seek a career in sports, since his father, a professional soccer player, encouraged a love of sports in his three sons (Rafael, and his two older brothers). The oldest brother, Ruslan, began to train in judo, while the second brother Rustam is a boxer and has good results as well.
Aghayev, like many other boys from childhood, had to find his place in life, and he began following in the footsteps of his father. At 7 years old, he became involved in football and at the same time began karate training 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.
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 fighting. 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.
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 lead in his weight class. 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."
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.
Currently, Rafael Aghayev is captain of the Azerbaijan Team, is continuing to train and perform under the guidance of new senior coach Rahman Hatamov.
Despite all the merits and achievements in sports Rafael in everyday life is very unpretentious and conducts a plain living. 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 correct way out of difficult situations.
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.
- Рафаэль Агаев – семикратный чемпион Европы! (in Russian)
- "Rafael Aghayev". Official Website. Retrieved 9 October 2013.