Foto: rafaelaghayev.com
 

Rafael  Aghayev (Azerbaijani: Rafael Ağayev) was born on March 4, 1985, in Sumqayit, Azerbaijan SSR. He is a prominent Azerbaijani karateka with an impressive list of achievements. At the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, he clinched the silver medal in the men's kumite 75 kg division. Aghayev boasts an illustrious career, being a five-time world champion and an eleven-time European champion in karate. He currently competes for Karate Combat and holds the welterweight championship with an undefeated record of 5-0.

Aghayev's journey into martial arts began early, influenced by his father's encouragement towards sports. With his brothers also involved in sports, Aghayev's path was clear. Starting with football at seven years old, he soon immersed himself in karate under the guidance of his first coach, Rafael Mammadov. Noteworthy performances in national competitions earned him recognition, leading to training at renowned sports clubs like Budokan under Fizuli Musayev.

Foto: rafaelaghayev.com

Despite initial struggles on the international stage, Aghayev's determination and talent shone through. His breakthrough came in 2001 when he secured third place at the World Championship among Cadets and Juniors in Athens, followed by a European Championship the next year. His exceptional skill earned him praise and titles, including two gold medals at the 18th World Championship in Tokyo in 2008.

Throughout his career, Aghayev's success has been nurtured by coaches like Hidayat Shabanov and Rahman Hatamov. His achievements have been duly recognized with awards from various organizations, including the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Azerbaijan Republic.

In June 2015, Aghayev added to his accolades by winning a gold medal in Kumite for 75 kilograms at the inaugural European Games held in Azerbaijan. His journey culminated in the August 2021 Olympics Karate event, where he secured a silver medal in the Men's kumite 75 kg division.

With an illustrious career and numerous achievements, Rafael Aghayev stands as a shining star in the world of karate, representing Azerbaijan with pride and excellence.