At the 2024 Dushanbe Grand Slam, Serdar Rahimov took the Turkmenistan national team to a new level, proving categorically that the concerted effort made by the whole team through this Olympic cycle is paying dividends. He won Turkmenistan’s first ever gold medal at a grand slam and propelled himself into direct qualification for the Paris Olympic Games, joining teammate Maysa Pardayeva (-57) on the train to the French capital.
The Dushanbe Grand Slam -66 kg podium, 2024.

This week Rahimov is fighting again, this time in Astana, Kazakhstan. He has taken no time to celebrate, continuing to lead his teammates on to the tatami. This 20 year old is brave and hard working and shows no signs of slowing down.

“I love to compete on the tatami and when I fight I only have one goal: to win! I will continue to work to raise my level, improve my performance and get more results. For example, I really enjoyed my quarter-final in Dushanbe against the Tajik athlete, Mulorajab Khalifaev, as I think he is stronger than me but my character and work rate helped me to win,” said Rahimov

“This gold medal medal will prove to other Turkmen judoka that they can also win and bring medals to Turkmenistan. It shows the young generation that they are right to continue their fight to have strong judo."

Rahimov (TKM) throwing in Dushanbe.

Serdar’s teammate, 19 year old Kurbanay Kurbanova added, “We don’t have the chance to go home often as we travel a lot for training and events. This is a big opportunity for us to work with all styles and learn about our opponents. With this way of working, now our results start to come. It’s a tight schedule and we have our tickets from event to event a long time in advance. We thank our government and federation for supporting the development of judo in the country.”

Serdar explained further, “We enjoy what we are doing now, competing against all the different judoka around the world. It’s a good life. Young people can get a lot from living this way. Judo teaches friendship and is good for society. It makes us one big team; we are always together."

Victory for Serdar Rahimov (TKM) in Dushanbe.

"We want to become stronger and raise our flag more and more. We all want to go to the Olympics and raise our flag there too. We have a Japanese coach who is making our schedule and we are also looking forward to a new schedule after the Games when we will have the chance to focus on some different thing and help to prepare our juniors for the 2024 Junior World Championships, also being held in Dushanbe.”

Turkmenistan’s team of evermore visible athletes and their coaches are continuing their tour of the world and with their system of high intensity travel and competition it is likely we will see further Turkmen flags flying above international podia.

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