Sept 15 2009

The European Judo Championship in Armenia is not only a big sports
event, but also a small contribution to reconciliation between
Armenia and Azerbaijan. For the first time the national judo team
of Azerbaijan visited Armenia to participate in the European Judo
Championship. One of the Azeri team members won gold. The national
hymn of Azerbaijan was played and the flag raised. Armenia had no
problem with that. The two countries are negotiating for Nagorno
Karabakh independence through referendum.

The Armenian Judo Federation interviewed a member of the Azerbaijani
judo youth team, Elmar Gasimov, who won the title of world champion
in the 100kg weight category, about his visit to Armenia.

Responding to the interviewer's question, Gasimov said he didn't have
any interactions with Armenian athletes.

"But I would like to say that Armenians are a hospitable
people... though we didn't come out of the hotel, we were concentrating
on our training, in order to achieve high results. But the trainers
went out and walked around town," Gasimov said.

He found it difficult to answer the question whether he would visit
Armenia if there was no championship.

"If the Karabakh issue is settled, of course, I could come. I don't
know, there were many visits and an agreement was signed, and so on,
before we were able to come," said Gasimov.

He also said he thinks if there wasn't any agreement, in any case,
there wouldn't be any problems.