DUSHANBE, December 26, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- Tajikistan’s first-ever Olympic medalist, judoka Rasoul Boqiyev, will return home.

The issue of Boqiyev’s return to Tajikistan was solved in Dushanbe on December 25, Alimahmad Mirzoyev, the deputy head of the Committee for Youth, Sports and Tourism Affairs, told Asia-Plus on Saturday.

“In the course of negotiations, we found a common language and Rasoul flew to Moscow to solve some issues,” said Mirzoyev, “We came to an agreement that Rasoul Boqiyev will participate in the London 2012 Olympics under the flag of Tajikistan.”

It is to be noted that since 2004, Rasoul Boqiyev has been trained at the Smabo-70 Club in Moscow.

Rasoul Boqiyev is one of the top judokas in Tajikistan in the -73 kg category; he won the first medal for Tajikistan in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by defeating Dirk van Tichelt of Belgium.  He won the first bronze medal in the -73 kg category, defeating Dirk van Tichelt of Belgium with a yuko and a koka. This was Tajikistan''s first medal of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  In the semifinal, he lost to Wang Ki-chun, a 19-year-old judoka from the Republic of Korea.  Rasoul Boqiyev, ranked No 3 in the world in his weight category, claimed his Olympic berth by finishing third at the 2007 World Judo Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

We will recall that Rasoul Boqiyev said in interview with Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service on August 27 this year that he has not received support from the Committee for Youth, Sports and Tourism Affairs and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Tajikistan after the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  “They have not worked out the plan of my training for international tournaments and the Olympic Games that will be held in London in 20012 and I was excluded from the list of athletes that were sent for training to Korea; moreover, the NOC revoked the Olympic grant from me after the Olympic games in Beijing,” said Boqiyev, “After such a treatment, I have come to the conclusion that Tajikistan is not interested in me as sportsman  and I am forced to participate in competitions on behalf of other country.”

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on January 30, 2009 that Rasoul Boqiyev is working as a taxi driver in Moscow to make ends meet.  His father and first trainer, Khudoinazar Boqiyev, told RFE/RL''s Tajik Service that his son received Tajikistan''s Medal of Honor and $2,300 from the Tajik government after the Olympics, but soon had to move to Russia to find work.

In October 2009, Rasoul Boqiyev won gold medal, finishing first in the –73 kg category in the 2009 Russia’s Judo Championships.  According to some Russian media, speaking to reporters after the competition, Boqiyev said “This year, I have been granted the Russian citizenship and I think my dream to win the Olympic Games has become realistic.  In Russia, there are more opportunities to achieve this goal...  I think my choice is right and I will be able to win the highest prize in my sports career participating under the flag of Russia.”

In early December this year, Nourullo Loiqov, the head of Tajikistan’s Judo Federation, visited Moscow, where he met with Rasoul Boqiyev to discuss his return to Tajikistan.