Ï Judokas of Turkmenistan arrived to the XIX Asian Games in Hangzhou
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Judokas of Turkmenistan arrived to the XIX Asian Games in Hangzhou

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Judokas of Turkmenistan arrived to the XIX Asian Games in Hangzhou
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Alexander Vershinin

A group of Turkmen judokas, who arrived today to the XIX Asian Summer Games opening in this Chinese city next Saturday, was met with rain in Hangzhou.

Representatives of the popular Olympic sport of Japanese wrestling have been preparing very hard for the main complex competitions of this year, having spent the last 1.5 months at competitions and training camps in Zagreb, Valencia, Tashkent and Baku.

Our judokas traveled from the capital of Azerbaijan via Urumqi to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, spending a total of 10 hours of flight in two planes.

The team consists of 8 athletes: four men and four women. All of them are participants of many foreign tournaments, but they will compete at the Asian Games for the first time. Among them are also many winners and prize-winners of international competitions, including candidates for participation in the Olympic Games to be held in Paris in 2024.

So, in the women's team today, Zulhumar Dashkinova, a 4th-year student of the Turkmen State Institute of Physical Culture and Sports (weight category up to 63 kg), who celebrated her 22nd birthday the day before, has a good chance to win an Olympic license. She is a bronze medalist of the V Islamic Solidarity Games, which took place last year in the Turkish city of Konya, and today has the best rating among Turkmen judokas.

A number of other representatives of this sport, including 18-year-old Maysa Pardayeva (up to 57 kg), Kurbanai Kurbanova (up to 48 kg) and 23-year-old graduate of the Turkmen State Institute of Physical Education Sayara Rozieva (up to 52 kg), continue their fight to qualify for the 2024 Olympics. Maysa Pardayeva has made a significant step forward over the past two years, becoming a two-time winner of the Junior Asian Cup in Almaty (2022) and in Tashkent (2023). This year she was also awarded silver at the Junior European Cup-2023 in Sarajevo and bronze at the Asian Open Tournament in Kuwait.

In the men's team, great hopes are pinned on 24-year-old master of sports Hekim Agamammedov (up to 66 kg), who heads the rating among Turkmen judokas. Last year, this talented athlete won bronze at the V Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey, took first place at the European Open Championship in Oberwart, Austria, and this year he was awarded bronze at the same tournament in Sofia.

There are no less famous judokas in our team. These are 19-year-old silver medalist of the Asian Open Tournament in Kuwait and bronze medalist of the Asian Open tournament in Bishkek Mamedali Achyldiev (up to 90 kg), silver medalist of the Junior European Cup-2023 in Sarajevo Baimyrat Majanov (up to 100 kg) and participant of many international competitions Aibek Omirov (up to 60 kg).

The senior coach of the cadet (under 17) and junior (under 20) national teams Tatiana Vidyasova and the head coach of the national team Kazuhiko Tokuno flew with the Turkmenistan judo team to the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

The 49-year-old well-known Japanese specialist headed the main team of the country this year to help our judokas achieve even greater success at major tournaments held under the auspices of the IJF and win licenses to participate in the Olympic Games-2024 in Paris.

25 years ago Kazuhiko Tokuno himself became the winner of the XIII Asian Summer Games in Bangkok. He also won medals twice at the World Championships: in 1999 in Birmingham – silver, and in 2001 in Munich – bronze. And in 2011, he was recognized by the International Judo Federation (IJF) as the best coach among the mentors of women's teams. During his coaching career, Kazuhiko Tokuno has trained a number of medalists of world championships, Olympic Games, World University Games, Asian Championships, Asian Games and other major international tournaments.

"Since the national team was headed by Kazuhiko Tokuno, Turkmen judokas have noticeably improved their skills," says Tatiana Vidyasova, senior coach of the cadet (under 17) and junior (under 20) national teams.

According to her, if earlier many of our athletes lost in the parterre, now they attack more due to the fact that the technique of "Non-Waza" has improved.

The judo tournament in the Asian Games program will begin on September 24.

In addition to judo, Turkmen athletes will be represented at the Asian Games in 3x3 basketball, boxing, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, jiu-jitsu, judo, kurash wrestling, karate, athletics, swimming, weightlifting and wushu.

After the sweltering heat and stuffiness, the weather in Hangzhou has become comfortable due to the rain continuing for the second day in some places. Who knows, maybe this is a good sign for our team?