While the Tokyo 2020 Olympics look like they could suffer another setback at any moment, despite having less than 50 days to go, Turkish athletes are ready to give it all they've got, and their recent successes prove they will be serious contenders in their respective sports.
After a challenging year for the sports world interrupted the global coronavirus pandemic, Turkish athletes amassed numerous achievements in the international arena. And karate is just one of the sports in which Turkish athletes shined.
Collecting six gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze, Turkey has been placed at the top of the standings for the fourth time in a row in the general classification at the 56th EKF European Senior Karate Championships.
Turkish karatekas, Serap Özçelik Arapoğlu, Ali Sofuoğlu, Eray Şamdan, Meltem Hocaoğlu Akyol, Uğur Aktaş, and the men's kata team received gold medals while the women's kumite team and Dilara Bozan took home silver while Eda Eltemur received a bronze medal in the competition in Porec, Croatia.
In other combat sports, Turkish taekwondo fighters collected five medals in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Hakan Reçber won the gold medal while Hatice Kübra Ilgün and Zeliha Ağrıs bagged silver medals in the European Taekwondo Senior Championships.
Irem Yaman and Nur Tatar clinched a gold medal each.
In addition, 21-year-old Reçber got a quota for the Summer Olympic games.
Turkey’s Olympic athlete Rıza Kayaalp won his 10th European wrestling championship title after beating Georgia's Iakobi Kajaia 3-1 in the men's Greco Roman 130-kg final in Warsaw, Poland.
Olympic champion Taha Akgül bagged his 8th European title, defeating Russian opponent Sergei Kozyrev in the men's freestyle 125-kg gold medal match.
Other athletes, like Ekrem Öztürk, Yunus Emre Başar, Kerem Kamal Gümüş and Murat Fırat clinched bronze medals.
The national athletes collected 17 medals, including four golds, two silvers and 11 bronze medals, in the 2021 European Weightlifting Championships in Moscow.
The gold medals came from Muhammed Furkan Özbek, who clinched two, and Daniyar Ismailov in the competition.
Twenty-year-old Muhammed Furkan got a quota place for the Olympic Games after clinching two golds and one silver at IWF Junior World Championships held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Turkey also won 18 medals, including six gold, six silver, six bronze medals at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships.
In gymnastics, meanwhile, Turkey’s Ayşe Begüm Onbaşı won a gold medal at the 16th FIG Aerobic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The 19-year-old athlete scored 21.850 to get first place in the Individual Women's final as Turkey bagged the first medal in the senior category.
Turkish gymnast Ferhat Arıcan became the champion in the men's parallel bars competition at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships held in the Swiss city of Basel.
Turkish Paralympic swimmers also took home prizes, Sevilay Öztürk won two golds and two silvers while Sümeyye Boyacı clinched one silver and one bronze medal at the European Open Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, Portugal.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu said that the athletes turned the pandemic period into an opportunity, congratulating them on winning medals and getting quota places for the Olympics.
Initially scheduled for July last year, the 2020 Olympic games were among a host of sports events postponed worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The games are scheduled to take place from July 23 to Aug. 8 but without foreign spectators due to safety measures.
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