First Vice-president Tofig Heydarov: “At present, using doping in our team is out of question"

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Personnel changes were made in Azerbaijan Weightlifting Federation (AZE WF) on December, last year. Asif Mammadov was appointed to the post of  head coach and Tofig Heydarov was appointed as the First Vice-president of the Federation by the order of President Jahangir Askerov.
Tofig Mirhasan oglu Heydarov was elected as the Vice-president of AZE WF in 2010 and 2016. He has also been the President of “Zirve” Sports Club since 2006, and until December 2017 he has also worked as a head coach of our national weightlifting teams. Tofig Heydarov fulfilled the norm of the USSR master of sports in his career at the age of 16, won the “Dostlug” Cup as part of the USSR National team in Hungary in 1990. Azerbaijan champion and record holder has been named as the winner of USSR Championships and international competitions. He was one of our first athletes of our Independence era who represented our country properly in 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, as well as in the European and World championships.Heydarov achieved great success during his coaching career, his students have repeatedly been the winner of European and World Championships and participant of the Olympic Games three times (IV, IV and VII places). One of them-Turan Mirzayev’s result (IV place) in the Athens Olympics Games was rewarded by Mr. President Ilham Aliyev. Since 2011, he is an international referee. Tofig Heydarov, as the head of the club, has managed to turn “Zirve” Sports Club into one of the strongest weightlifting clubs in the world. An establishment of highly technical base of sports at club which has branches in 12 states and in all regions of our country, has played and continues to play an important role in the development of sports, especially weightlifting. In addition, at the “Zirve” high school founded by the club, current and future winners and awarders of international competitions are grown, and besides being a great athlete, steps are being taken to bring our society as a worthy citizen. We asked Tofig Heydarov to answer our questions about 2017. We present you an interview of the First Vice-president of the Federation to the official website:
What was the memorable for weightlifting in 2017?
– For us, as a year of the fight against doping. In advance, using doping in our team became commonplace. The national team coaches used doping explicitly. As a result of the efforts made by us for many years were not realized. The talented athletes who have been trained hard for years, were the victim of this game. Our government had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite my great deal of work, I took the post as a head coach. We have achieved great success by working with this newly established National Anti-Doping Agency (AMADA) and the International Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in this way. For this reason, many coaches and athletes were suspended from team. At present, using doping in our team is out of question.
-How did the fight against doping affect the results of our athletes in 2017?
It was not a negative impact. On the contrary, we have achieved successes we have never achieved. In 2017, our athletes won numerous medals – 43 medals (13 gold, 10 silver and 20 bronze) in international competitions. The winning a license by our athletes in the World Youth Championship to the Olympic Youth Games to be held in Argentina this year and our athletes championship in European Youth Championship in Kosovo in the medal account have opened a new page in our country’s weightlifting history. I would like to note that Rustam Gasimov and Tarmenkhan Babayev won gold medals renewing the European records, Sabina Azimova was three-times European champion and the medals in Islamic Games. Yes, well-known athletes such as Firudin Guliyev, Elkhan Aliguluzade, Dadashbeyli Dadash and Valentin Khristov, who are the talented Azerbaijan athletes, will not be able to represent our team for a long time for doping. But I believe that our young athletes will be able to fill this gap completely until the Tokio Olympic Games.
What was the reason of your resignation as a head coach?
The problems with weightlifting have always been related to coaches. The main reason for my appointment as a head coach was to remove the doping from the team and to fight it continuously. During these 18 months, we have done great work in doping fight. I believe the coaches who work in our team and as a vice-president they are under my control. We have also created a great opportunities for our young specialists. I believe you’ll witness their success soon.
What are your goals as a first Vice-president of federation in 2018?
– Last year we opened two large training centers, and many halls were fully renovated. This year, our work will be expanded and we will try to open new halls of AZE WF in Baku and in our regions. Our goal is to reach publicity in this sport by increasing the number of halls and coaches. So, the number of athletes will be lot. Providing all the gyms with weightlifting equipments, raising the level and number of competitions are also important issues. It has been planned to conduct uninterrupted training-camps during this year. The main goal is to ensure that our youth are strongly prepared for the Olympic Games and world championship.
– Finally, how do you see the future of weightlifting in our Republic?
– I believe that the AZE WF will become the world’s most exemplary federation and Azerbaijan will be the center of world weightlifting. Many members of the Executive Committee of the International Weightlifting Federation, who were in Baku at the time of the Islamic Games, especially noted this during their review of our training bases. When I was a sportsman, I saw a lot of difficulty in weightlifting.  After the national leader Heydar Aliyev took care of the sport, very good opportunities were created for us. As a result of successful policy pursued by Mr. President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has become a country of sports today. The whole team, including the President of AZE WF Jahangir Askerov, will take part in the development of sports very closely in our Republic this year.