2 September 2023



Double Olympian, Orkhan SAFAROV, announced his retirement in style, officially finishing his professional judo career the same day he first ever stepped on the mat, on the 1st of September. The 2020 European Champion shared the news on social media. 

Today, is a special day for me. 25 years ago, exactly today, I got acquainted with judo for the first time. And on this day, I announce the end of my career. So happy to have dedicated these many years to this career that I am proud to send behind. 

It was a great honour for me to wave the flag of Azerbaijan. I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches, and judo lovers who give me the strength, motivation to keep fighting. Today is my last day as a professional judoka. Thankful for Judo for everything it has done for me. Thanks to everyone I worked with, management, coaches, doctor, clubs. 

And now it’s time to open a new page in my life. See you soon! 

The 32-year-old judoka spent majority of his career, in the -60kg category, acing a 5th place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In 2013, he conquered his first senior world championships medal in a form of a bronze. In 2016, he won the prestigious Masters tournament whilst, 2017, allowed him to step up to silver success amongst the world’s best. Additional to his European title in 2020, Safarov won 3 other European medals, two silver (2015,2016) and one bronze (2017). His medal tally also includes multiply IJF World Tour successes. In 2018, he moved up to the -66kg category where he remained in form to book his spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games a weight division above. In January 2021, this outstanding judoka was named ‘Sportsman of the Year’ at the ‘ZAFER’ International Sports Award, organised by Sportsman magazine and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. 

Orkhan, on behalf of the EJU family, congratulations on an incredible career and we wish you all the best! 

Author: Szandra Szogedi