National taekwondo athlete Nur Tatar Askari won the gold medal while another Turkish athlete, Nafia Kuş, won bronze at the World Taekwondo (WT) Grand Prix Final Competition held in Fujairah province of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday.
Turkey was represented by seven athletes, six of them women, at the competition to which the top 16 athletes from all weight classes were invited. The contest is regarded as an important step toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Askari, competing in the 67-kilogram category, became the first Turkish taekwondo athlete to strike gold in the Grand Prix Final Competition. She claimed victory over her Italian, Russian and Croatian competitors on the first day and victory against South Korean rival Kim Jan-di in the final. Askari achieved the gold through a 7-5 win determined by a golden point.
Kuş, who competed in the 67+ kilogram category, managed to defeat Serbia's Milica Mandic 10-6 in the match for third place, winning the bronze medal.
Rukiye Yıldırım and Hatice Kübra İlgün finished the competition in fourth place in the 49-kilogram and 57-kilogram categories, respectively, scoring important points on the way to Tokyo.
Speaking about the competition results, head of Turkish Taekwondo Federation Metin Şahin said: "The competition held here is actually a bit harder than the Olympics. However, the importance of the Olympics is of course much different. We are planning to attend the 2020 Tokyo (Olympics) women's class with a whole team consisting of four female athletes. We can say that we did a rehearsal of 2020 here."
Expressing pride and hope in Turkey's athletes, Şahin said: "I celebrate all of our athletes who succeeded and competed here as well as our technical staff. We have important steps ahead of 2020. We will keep working in order to achieve our goal."