Highlights of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Turkey’s record medal haul, Azerbaijan’s successes and more

It’s been a week since the curtain went down on the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, and there are still so many brilliant memories from this incredible sporting extravaganza to process.

There was joy when Mete Gazoz took the gold in the men’s individual archery. Gazoz, 22, beat Italy’s Mauro Nespoli 6-4 in the final to become Turkey’s first-ever Olympic medallist in archery.

Turkey took its second gold of the Games in women’s boxing through Busenaz Sürmeneli (pictured top right). The 23 year-old from Trabzon was crowned Olympic welterweight champion on the penultimate day of the Tokyo Olympics after defeating China’s Gu Hong 3-0 in the welterweight division.

Like Gazoz, Sürmeneli made history with her superb victory, becoming the first Turk to win an Olympics medal in boxing.

A second boxing medal for Turkey came soon after, with Buse Naz Çakıroğlu winning silver in the Women’s flyweight division. She was defeated in the final by Bulgarian Stoyka Zhelyazkova Krasteva.

Another history-making performance was by male artistic gymnast Ferhat Arıcan, who claimed Turkey’s first-ever gymnastics medal. Arıcan, who is the current European champion in parallel bars, had become the first Turkish male gymnast at compete at an Olympics in Rio in 2016.

Competing in an outstanding field in the men’s parallel bars, Arıcan, 28, qualified for the finals and went on to deliver a stunning routine that was awarded 15.633 points by the judges, propelling him to third place and a bronze medal.

While they did not grab a medal, Turkey’s Women’s Volleyball team had the nation glued to their screens for every match after their epic 3-0 early victory against one of the tournament favourites China. Turkey was ranked fifth overall after losing to South Korea in the quarter-finals.

The best sport for Turkey at the Tokyo Games was karate, where they took four medals – one silver and three bronze medals. It did less well in wrestling – a sport it has historically dominated, winning just three bronzes where they had predicted at least two gold for Rıza Kayaalp and Taha Akgül.

Yet overall, this was Turkey’s best every Olympics in terms of the total number of medals won. The Turkish squad of 108 athletes for Tokyo, 50 women and 58 men, brought home 13 medals between them: two gold, two silver, and nine bronze.

Turkey’s previous best was at the 1948 London Olympics, where its athletes won a total of 12 medals: 6 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze.

The result means Turkey was ranked 35thon the Tokyo Games medals table, which was dominated by the USA (113 medals) and China (88 medals). Hosts Japan were third with 58 medals. The Olympics medal table gives highest ranking to those with the most gold medals, followed by silver, and then bronze.

Azerbaijan Tokyo highlights

Azerbaijan’s squad of 44 athletes brought back seven medals from Tokyo, three silver and four gold. The haul was modest by their standards. At the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, Azerbaijan won a whopping 18 medals, one gold, seven silver and ten bronze.

Boxer Alfonso Dominguez and judoka Iryna Kindzerska were the first two Azerbaijani athletes to win medals at Tokyo, both winning bronze.

There was disappointment for five-time World kumite champion and 11-time European champion Rafael Aghayev (pictured top left), who was beaten in the final by Italy’s Luigi Busa. Aghayev,’s silver was the first for Azerbaijan in Tokyo. Two more quickly followed.

Karateka Iryna Zaretska of Azerbaijan (left) competing at Tokyo Olympics, 07Aug2021. Photo © Facebook / National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan


The 2018 world kumite champion Iryna Zaretska took silver in her Kumite +61kg final bout against Egyptian karateka Feryal Abdelaziz.

For Olympian wrestler Haji Aliyev, Tokyo allowed him to go one better than Rio, taking a silver in the Men’s Freestyle 65kg division. He was beaten to gold by Japan’s Takuto Otoguro.

Azerbaijan Tokyo 2020 Olympics medal winners

Rafael Aghayev, silver medal in Men’s Karate, Kumite 75kg division.

Iryna Zaretska, silver medal in Women’s Karate, Kumite +61kg division.

Haji Aliyev, silver medal in Men’s Wrestling Freestyle 65kg division.

Haji Aliyev after winning silver for Azerbaijan at the Tokyo Olympics, 07 Aug 2021. Photo © Facebook / National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan


Iryna Kindzerska, bronze medal in Women’s Judo 78+ kilo division.

Alfonso Dominguez, bronze medal in Men’s Boxing Light Heavyweight (75-81kg) division.

Rafig Huseynov, Men’s Wrestling Greco-Roman 77kg division.

Mariya Stadnik, Women’s Wrestling Freestyle 50kg division.

Turkey Tokyo 2020 Olympics medal winners

Mete Gazoz, gold medal, Archery: Men’s individual

Busenaz Sürmeneli, gold medal, Women’s Boxing welterweight division.

Eray Şamdan (pictured below at Tokyo), silver medal, Men’s Karate, 67 kg division.

Embed from Getty Images

Buse Naz Çakıroğlu, silver medal, Women’s Boxing flyweight division.

Hakan Reçber,  bronze medal, Men’s Taekwondo 68 kg division.

Hatice Kübra İlgün, bronze medal, Women’s Taekwondo 57 kg division.

Rıza Kayaalp, bronze medal, Men’s Wrestling Greco-Roman 130 kg division.

Boxer Buse Naz Çakıroğlu wins silver for Turkey at 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 07 Aug. 2021. Photo © Facebook / Türkiye Milli Olimpiyat Komitesi


Taha Akgül, bronze medal, Men’s Wrestling freestyle 125 kg division.

Yasemin Adar, bronze medal, Women’s Wrestling freestyle 76 kg division.

Ferhat Arıcan, bronze medal, Men’s Gymnastics parallel bars.

Ali Sofuoğlu, bronze medal, Men’s Karate kata.

Merve Çoban, bronze medal, Women’s Karate 61 kg division.

Uğur Aktaş, bronze medal, Men’s Karate+75 kgdivision.

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics

Initially scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were delayed by a year due to Covid-19 restrictions and there were calls from the Japanese public to cancel again this year do contain the pandemic.

Instead, the Japanese government deciding to go ahead, but prevent spectators from attending events. Athletes and support staff were also tested every day at the Olympics, which ran from 23 July 2021 to last Sunday, 8 August.

Over 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries competed in 46 different sports and 339 events at 2020 Summer Olympics.

Next up are the ‘super humans’, who Tokyo will host for the Paralympics, which start on 24 August.