Wrestling star Taha Akgül has claimed his seventh European gold medal – and third in a row – after a comfortable win on Wednesday in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.
The 28-year-old now holds the record for the most number of European titles by a Turkish wrestler, reports said.
Giant Taha Akgül, who stands 192cm tall, secured a convincing 7-0 victory over Georgian rival Geno Petriashvili in the men’s 125kg freestyle final on the third day of the European Wrestling Championships.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was among the first to congratulate Akgül, speaking to him by phone as he gave a post-match media interview.
Akgül, a double world champion who won Turkey’s only gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, dedicated his title to the “whole of Turkey”.
He said he hoped to continue his impressive record at the next World Championships, due to take place in September in Kazakhstan.
Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu wrote on Twitter: “I congratulate Taha Akgül, who has become the best in Europe for the 7th time and made us proud.”
Championship organisers United World Wrestling described the result as a “huge win” for Akgül on their official Twitter account, sharing a video montage which has been viewed 130,000 times.
“Huge win” for Taha Akgül at 2019 European Wrestling Championships
— United World Wrestling (@wrestling) April 10, 2019
Akgül was born on 22 November 1990 in Sivas, Turkey, according to the Turkish Olympic Committee’s website.
In 2014 he was selected Best Wrestler of the Year by the Turkish Wrestling Federation.
His latest win was Turkey’s third at the European Wrestling Championships, which ends on Sunday.
Mustafa Kaya won a gold medal by beating Azerbaijan’s Aghahuseyn Mustafayev 6-2 in the men’s 70kg freestyle final.
Süleyman Atlı also finished top of the podium by beating Russia’s Muslim Sadulaev 8-3 in the men’s 57kg freestyle final.
Selahattin Kılıçsallayan clinched a silver medal in the men’s 65kg freestyle final, where he was beaten by Azerbaijan’s Haci Aliyev.
Muhammet Nuri Kotanoğlu, Fatih Erdin and Recep Topal all won bronze medals for Turkey during the first three days of the tournament.