7 June 2024


European Judo Championships Veterans 2024


Farhad RAJABLI had a successful showing at the European Judo Championships Veterans Sarajevo 2024, where he competed in the M8-90kg category. He had one goal and one goal only: to win gold. 

I came here for this, to win my 10th title. Especially that prior to the competition in Azerbaijan the news papers already write article with title like ‘Rajabli is going for 10th title’, so I had that added pressure to make it happen. It was tough, everyone is training hard and preparing for this tournament. I had two opponents whom I won against before and I could feel in the contest that they were prepared well against me. 

Rajabli has been involved in judo for over half a century and he is the head coach of the veteran team of Azerbaijan. He has been part of his team since its inception.

As you know, Azerbaijan was part of former Soviet Union and when the Soviet Union created judo federation in 1972, Azerbaijan was also included. I am in judo since that day, non-stop.

He was not exaggerating when he said he had been involved in judo non-stop. Rajabli graduated from university as a judo coach some time ago and it has been his profession ever since. He claims that his whole family is involved in judo, all the children and male grandchildren too. They all love to follow his success. Now, Las Vegas is calling and Rajabli is heading for his 12th veteran world title at the end of this year. With that, he has no plans to stop.

I will continue becuase I can do it and I am very glad. I enjoy the win and enjoying raising my country flag. I will do it as much and as long as I can. Judo keeps me healthy. 

Rajabli’s first appearance at a veteran European championships was in 2004, where he won silver. He won his first title in 2006. After 20 years as a veteran, he celebrated his 10th title in Sarajevo, becoming the first Azerbaijani judoka ever to win this number of veteran European titles.

Veteran judo came a long way. The level of organisation is great for all the veteran European championships, in fact its better than the veteran worlds. It would be incredibly nice to win another title in Azerbaijan but this decision is not in my hand. 

For Rajabli, taking up judo at a late age is perfectly normal. But…

If anyone starts judo at older age it is normal, it is possible. But they just need to be patient and take it step by step. Judo is good for health just don’t hurry to fight, take time and take it step by step. 

Author: Szandra Szogedi