Azeris and Turks in command at Solidarity Games

15 May 2017
Turkey's Yusuf Dikec poses during the medal ceremony of the 50m pistol men event at the Baku 2017.

The showdown for Islamic Solidarity Games supremacy continued unabated on Monday as hosts Azerbaijan went head-to-head with neighbours Turkey and the other 52 nations were left picking up the golden crumbs that had fallen off the table.

The expectations had always been that the two biggest delegations to the fourth edition of the games, with well over 300 athletes each, would dominate.

But still the extent of that domination has been surprising.

By the end of Monday's action, Turkey had eased ahead with a total of 35 golds and 92 total, with Azerbaijan hot on their heels at 33 golds and 68 total.

Azerbaijan had been narowly ahead at the end of Sunday's competition.

No other country is anywhere near those hauls and it looks set to stay that way.

From swimming to shooting, from judo to gymnastics, it was gold after gold for the men and women from Turkey and Azerbaijan.

In total, Turkey finished the artistic gymnastics events with six golds in all, one more than their hosts, with Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina, the only one to get a look in by taking the parallel bars gold.

Azerbaijan had dominated the rhythmic gynmastics on Sunday with star turn Marina Durunda saying she was proud of her three gold medals.

Turkey enjoyed mixed fortunes in the swimming pool as their women dominated, but their men failed to land a single individual gold medal.

But after three days of competition, Turkey's swimming medal count stands at 32 - one more than they managed at the 2013 Islamic Solidarity Games - with 14 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze.

Earlier in the day Turkey's marksmen took two of the golds up for grabs in the shooting, with one going to Azerbaijan and Iran enjoying a clean sweep in the women's 50-metre rifle 3 positions.

Turkey took both men's and women's team golds in the tennis tournament with ease, while there was a gold apiece for Azerbaijan and Turkey in the team judo, with the hosts finishing the tournament well ahead with 11 golds.

Cameroon trounced Saudi Arabia 3-0 to top Group B on goal difference in the football tournament and set up a semi-final against Oman, who placed second in Group A thanks to a 1-1 draw against Algeria.

The other semi-final sees the Algerians take on hosts Azerbaijan, who finished with a 0-0 draw against Morocco, in what will surely draw a capacity crowd in the capital city.

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