Around 2-thousand Azerbaijanis are active taekwondo practitioners around the nation — and Gabala — a mountainous city located four hours away from the capital Baku, has extra facilities to help the locals hone their skills.
“The city of Gabala – a popular tourism destination, is turning itself into a taekwondo hub, attracting prospective athletes from within the region and other parts of the country.”
The city even has a sport hotel, specifically designed to cater athletes.
This unprecedented facility — is also home to Azerbaijan‘s national team.
“Taekwondo is an increasingly popular sport here in Azerbaijan, and we anticipate more young athletes here to achieve victory in the sport. We also send them to Korea and bring our coaches along to improve their skills.”
And of course, local children are the first to benefit from these offers.
Although mostly beginners, they dream of being the one to win Azerbaijan‘s first Olympic gold medal in the sport.
“I started taekwondo two months ago. I like working out and I think taekwondo is good for my health.”
“I want to start by winning the European Championships, then the Worlds and eventually the Olympics.”
In its bid to develop more Olympic athletes in taekwondo and in other sports – and eventually hosting international sporting events, Azerbaijan is also building sports infrastructure like this Olympic complex in major cities around the country.