Turkish wrestler Rıza Kayaalp had to settle for second place after losing his bout with reigning Olympic champion Mijain Lopez of Cuba. Lopez dominated yesterday’s Greco-Roman 130-kilo wrestling final, winning 6-0.
Kayaalp had gone into the Olympics with high hopes of winning a gold medal having beaten Lopez in last year’s World Championships. Turkey’s strongman won his opening Olympic bout against Venezuela’s Erwin Jose Caraballo Cabrera in just 2.08 minutes. He was even quicker in the quarterfinals, pinning Azerbaijan’s Sabah Shariati down in just 1.03 mins.
A well-executed move in the semis saw Kayaalp dispatch Germany’s Eduard Popp in less than two minutes. However, he was unable to overcome the might and speed of the Cuban in the final (pictured below), who took 4 points against Kayaalp in the first 30 seconds of the match. Lopez had previously won gold at the Beijing and London Olympics.
After the medals ceremony, the 26-year-old from Yozgat in Turkey tweeted to thank everyone for their supported and pledged to win gold at the Tokyo Games in 2020.
Turkey’s medal tally at Rio now stands at two, after weightlifter Daniyar İsmayilov won silver in the men’s 69kg category last week.