Female judoka Acelya Toprak has won a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The British Turkish Cypriot from Lewisham, South London, reached the final of the Women’s 57kg Judo on Monday, 1 August, where she was beaten by Canada’s Christa Deguchi.
Toprak had defeated Scotland’s Malin Wilson and Christianne Legentil of Mauritius on her journey to the final, where she faced former World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist Deguchi.
England are currently second in the Medals Table at the Commonwealth Games with a total of 106 medals: 39 gold, 38 silver and 29 bronze. Australia head the table with 124 medals, including 47 gold, with Canada in third on 57 medals, of which 16 are gold.
As a member of the Commonwealth, Cyprus is also competing at the Birmingham Games. Its 53-strong team, which does not have a single Turkish Cypriot competitor included, has won seven medals to date, including two gold, earning it eleventh position on the Medals Team.
Turkish Cypriot athletes remain unfairly excluded from international events such as the Commonwealth Games because of the political dispute on the island and embargoes on North Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots wanting to compete at major events can only do so by changing their nationality and entering as a citizen of another state, such as Turkiye or the United Kingdom.
Christa Deguchi v Acelya Toprak at Commonwealth Games 2022
About Acelya Toprak
Tipped for big things, Toprak, 24, is a former European junior silver medallist. Last year she won gold at the Dubrovnik European Cup. In 2017, Toprak became the youngest winner when she won gold at 57kg at the European Open in Belgrade aged 19. She continues to grow in experience and her silver medal at the Commonwealth Games marks her first podium success at a major sporting event.
Ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, the Team England website described Toprak as “an outstanding talent with a bright future ahead of her.” She is expected to compete for Britain at the 2022 World Judo Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in October.
Five years ago, the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations UK – the largest umbrella group for Britain’s 200,000 strong Turkish Cypriot community – awarded Toprak a Rising Star Award at its inaugural awards night. Acelya was one of two Rising Star recipients that year, the other being television personality Kem Cetinay.
Main image top, of Acelya Toprak with her Commonwealth Games silver medal in Birmingham, 01 Aug. 2022. Photo via Facebook / Team England