6 November 2023



The ‘Land of Fire’ team of Azerbaijan are welcoming a new member, Acelya TOPRAK, formerly of the British Judo Association. 

I am very humbled to have been accepted in to the Azerbaijan Judo team and delighted that following the successful transfer I am able to continue in my bid for Olympic qualification in Paris 2024.

It was not a decision made lightly, as I have represented the team of Great Britain for many years, I have built strong relationships and learned a lot, be it from my club or my experience within the National Training Centre. All of which I will carry with me. I have taken the decision in to my own hands in order to reach my Olympic dreams. 

My life has been dedicated to this Olympic journey and I strongly believe that I can achieve greatness in this incredibly supportive environment. The hospitality here is unmatched and I will fight for the pride of Azerbaijan. 

The British team have a strong group of competitors in the -57kg category, meaning that there will be tremendous disappointment when it is time for the Olympic selection, however Toprak is managing her fate with this move. 

I can only control what I can control and my aspirations to go to the Olympic Games outweigh anything else and I am taking this opportunity. The team have been so welcoming, of course I was a little nervous, being part of a new team and in a new country but I couldn’t have received a better welcome and I know I’ve made the right decision. 


Author: Thea Cowen