On September 20th, the Judo World Championships will start in Azerbaijan in the heart of the capital Baku. A few months ago, our teams went to discover this country, sometimes unknown, but very endearing. We offer you today to discover Azerbaijan through its judo champions and its rich culture.

"It is said that Azerbaijan is a country of fire", said Nazim Huseynov, the first Olympic champion in the history (Barcelona 1992) of a country that became independent in 1991. But it is also said that it is a nation of sport, the sporting careers of its champions (Nazim Huseynov, Elnur Mammadli or Ilham Zakiyev) are the obvious proof of that.

During this episode of our successful 'Judo for the world' series, you will discover the modern and dynamic character of Baku, the sumptuous landscapes of the countryside, but also the emotionally charged stories of national sports legends.

On the shores of the Caspian Sea, Nazim Huseynov explains how he changed the image of his country by raising his arms to the sky when he had just won the final of the Olympic Games in Barcelona on his birthday. Today he is the coach of the senior national team that will be in action on the tatami of the National Gymnastics Arena from 20 to 27 September, a team that a whole country will support with passion.

Ilham Zakiyev takes us to the provincial cities where he likes to train and explains the incredible story of his life. While he was a young judoka, he was seriously wounded during the war and totally lost his sight. As people thought he would not survive his injuries, he came back to life and his passion for judo offered him a new goal in life. The colossus has been a multiple-time World Champion and Paralympic Champion, becoming the most successful sportsman of his country. His next goal: the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

In this film we also discover the beautiful story of a young athlete, Shahana Hajiyeva, (2015 Cadet European Champion), who could well represent the future of Azerbaijan.

Finally we learn a little more about Elnur Mammadli whose performance in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games, is still in everyone's memory. Today, he is the vice-president of the Judo Federation of Azerbaijan, and continues to pass on his knowledge and passion for judo.

If you still do not really know a lot about Azerbaijan and its people, this film will certainly make you want to know even more. See you on September 20th for the launch of the Baku World Championships.

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