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Uzbek Olympic Hopefuls

Rishod_SobirovThere are only eight months until the start of London 2012. The Olympic Games – from 27 July to 12 August – is an important milestone for all countries, including Uzbekistan.

Currently, Uzbek athletes are actively preparing for this grand sporting event. The Uzbekistan government has created the optimum conditions for athletes to perform to the best of their ability, including additional funding for sports federations, the reconstruction and equipping of sports facilities, financial incentives for leading athletes and their coaches, as well as medical and pharmacological support. Leading athletes even have the opportunity to regularly train abroad. For example, gymnasts are preparing by training in Malaysia and Thailand, boxers in Ireland, judoists in Japan and South Korea and rowers in Poland and France.

The people of Uzbekistan have high hopes of seeing our athletes perform successfully at the Olympics Games. Expectations are particularly high for athletes associated with specific sports, such as judo, freestyle and greco-roman wrestling, boxing, artistic and rhythmic-sportive gymnastics, rowing, canoeing, weightlifting, athletics and Taekwondo.

Uzbekistan traditionally has a strong position in these sports, and our athletes have a real chance to compete for Olympic medals. At the height of their game in the international sporting arena, the names of Uzbek athletes Rishod Sobirov, Arthur Taimazov and Vadim Menkov are well-known.

Rishod Sobirov is now the world’s number one judoist in the weight category up to 60kg. After winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Sobirov was recognised as one of the strongest wrestlers in the world, and since then, the number of his International Judo Federation victories continues to increase in number. In the latest Judo World Championship in Paris, Sobirov won the gold medal, defending his world title which he won last year in Japan. With all these international championship and tournament victories behind him, Sobirov is confidently making his way to London 2012.

As one of the strongest fighters on the planet, freestyle wrestler Arthur Taymazov has no equal in the 120kg weight category. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000, this little-known 20-year-old athlete won the silver medal. Today, Taymazov is a two-time world champion, two-time Olympic champion – the anthem of Uzbekistan rang at the Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing in his honour – and gold medalist at three Asian Games: Busan (South Korea), Doha (Qatar) and Guangzhou (China). Winning all kinds of international tournaments and a number of continental championships, Taymazov has won almost every possible title in freestyle wrestling.

Two-time world champion Vadim Menkov is considered to be one of the best canoeists in the world. His first major international success came with a victory at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. In the same year, he finished second at the ICF World Cup in Poland. At the Beijing Olympics, Menkov came in fourth, rowing in the 1,000 metres, demonstrating the best result among Asian oarsmen. After a successful performance at the ICF Flatwater Racing World Cup in 2009, the International Canoe Federation declared Menkov to be the World’s Best Canoeist of the Year. In 2010, he became a champion of the 16th Asian Games.


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