Turkish national taekwondo team travels to Belgium for Saturday's Belgian Open, an event they hope to collect points for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The tournament in the city of Lommel promises 20 points for participating teams and some 1,700 players from more than 50 countries will compete. The Turkish team has 13 players including five male and eight female players. Nur Tatar Askari, a multi-medal winner who has recovered from a recent injury, will also join the team in her first international event this year.
The team has five gold, one silver and two bronze from the U.S. Open and three gold, two silvers and two bronze from the Netherlands Open under its belt.
Metin Şahin, head of the Turkish Taekwondo Federation, says they wanted the best possible results in Belgium as the event was "critical" ahead of the Olympics. "Our players started out well this year and we want to sustain this success. We have a busy schedule but trust our team," he said in a statement.
Rukiye Yıldırım will compete for the women, in 49 kilos category while Zeliha Ağrıs will take to the mat in 53 kilos category. Other women on the Turkish side also include Hatice Kübra İlgün, İrem Yaman, İkra Kayır, Nur Tatar Askari, Nafia Kuş and Sude Bulut. Yaman and İlgün won gold at the U.S. Open while Ağrıs and Kuş bagged bronze at the same tournament.
Deniz Dağdelen, Hakan Reçber, Yunus Sarı, Hasan Can Lazoğlu and Emre Kutalmış Ateşli will compete in the men's category. Reçber, Lazoğlu and Ateşli won gold in the men's categories in the U.S. Open earlier this month.