27 April 2024


European Judo Championships Seniors Zagreb 2024


Eljan HAJIYEV (AZE/-90) meant business when stepping onto the mat during the first round of the -90kg category on the third day of the European Judo Championships Senior 2024, winning all of his five contests in style, making his way to victory effortlessly.

You are now senior European Champion, how do you feel?

It is a really beautiful feeling I don’t know how to explain but I just can’t stop smiling. Coming into this competition, I wanted to be in the final and deal with the rest as it comes. 

It looked as thought you were at a randori [sparring] session, taking out Olympic Champion, Lasha Bekauri (GEO) and Olympic bronze medallists, Toth Krisztian (HUN) on your way to glory.

I am glad [he laughs] but of course it was not easy. It is a very difficult competition and it was always a dream of mine to become senior European Champion. It was certainly not easy from the inside. In fact, the toughest fight was the first one. It is usually the case as my body was not ready but after the first fight I started to open up. 

As per Bekauri I fought him during the Tbilisi Grand Slam final where I lost. During the final I had a dislocated toe at the time and after losing I was seeking for this rematch and I am grateful how it turned out. 

A year ago you were still competing in the -81kg category. The move seems to be paying off, right?

Most definitely. I had to lose a lot of weight and when I competed in the -81kg category I could give around 70% maximum even on my best day. When you have big dreams and a strong team everything is possible, including changing weight and becoming European champion. My dream is to win all three titles. I am still young and now in the -90kg I can use my full power. I think this category is the best for me. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi