Mete Gazoz has won Turkey’s first-ever Olympic archery medal. The talented 22-year-old beat veteran Italian Mauro Nespoli in a thrilling five-set final to take gold on Saturday. The win also marked Turkey’s first gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The new Men’s Olympic Archery Champion said: “I’m feeling great. It’s amazing to be here, it’s amazing to have a gold medal at the Olympics. After 2016, after Rio, I promised myself I would be Olympic Champion next time in Tokyo.”
Gazoz had come agonisingly close to his – and Turkey’s – first Olympic archery medal in the mixed archery team competition earlier this week. Competing with Yasemin Anagoz, the pair finished just outside of the medals in fourth.
That disappointment was put to bed by the little-known Gazoz, who clinically dispatched a host of major opponents, including the world number 1 Brady Ellison,on his way to the individual title.
The young archer had qualified tenth in Tokyo and facedLuxembourg’s Jeff Henckels in the first round at the Yumenoshima Archery Field. He won, and went on to defeat Australia’s Ryan Tyack to advance to the last sixteen.
Turkish coach Yusuf Göktuğ “We’ve waited 100 years for this”
Gazoz beat another Australian Taylor Worth for a spot in the quarterfinals, where he faced American Brady Ellison on finals day on Saturday.
Ellison has won plenty of gold medals in his career, but never at the Olympics. It was not to be at Tokyo either, where he was comprehensively beaten by the Turkish youngster.
Eliminating Ellison lined up a semi-final match for Gazoz against Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa, who had previously won silver in the Men’s Individual Archery competition in the London 2012 Games. Victory over Furukawa, Gazoz guaranteed himself and Turkey at least a silver medal.
Before Tokyo, few expected Gazoz to win a medal of any colour. His opponent in the final and favourite for the individual title was 33-year-old four time Olympian Mauro Nespoli.
#Tokyo2020’de bir Olimpiyat Şampiyonumuz var🙌🏼
— TMOK | #TeamTürkiye 🇹🇷 (@TMOK_Olimpiyat) July 31, 2021
Nespoli has a team archery gold medal from London 2012 and a silver individual medal from Beijing 2008. The twice Olympic medal winner was aiming to become Italy’s second individual Olympic Champion after Marco Galiazzo in 2004, but Gazoz had other plans.
The favourite certainly started the stronger of the two in the final, but Gazoz kept calm and by the fourth set, the dual was tied. Gazoz landed back-to-back 10s with his final arrows in the fifth and final set to secure the victory and be crowned Olympic champion.
Afterwards, Turkey’s head archery coach Yusuf Göktuğ underlined the significance of the win for his country in an emotional statement: “We’ve waited 100 years for this.”
Taekwondo bronze for Hatice Kübra İlgün & Hakan Reçber
Gazoz’s gold takes Turkey’s medal tally in Tokyo to three. Turkish Taekwondo fighters Hatice Kübra İlgün and Hakan Reçber had each won bronze medals during the first weekend of the Olympic Games in Japan.
— TMOK | #TeamTürkiye 🇹🇷 (@TMOK_Olimpiyat) July 25, 2021
Competing in the Women’s 57kg Taekwondo category, İlgün clinched bronze by beating Iranian Kimia
Alizadeh, who forms part of the Olympic Refugee Team. Anastasija Zolotic.of the USA took gold after beating Russian Tatiana Minina.
Earlier on Sunday, 25 July, İlgün’s teammate Reçber had also earned a bronze medal after defeating Bosnia’s Nedzad Husic in the Men’s 68kg Taekwondo category. Uzbekistan’s Ulugbek Rashitov beat Bradly Sinden for the gold in the final.
Turkey at the Summer Olympics
Turkey has sent a squad of 108 athletes to the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, 50 women and 58 men.
Turkey’s first appearance at the Olympic Games was in 1908, when it was known as the Ottoman Empire. It formed the Turkish National Olympic Committee in 1908 and since then it has sent athletes to compete in most editions of the Summer Olympic Games.
Turkish athletes have won a total of 94 medals, including the three won in Tokyo. To date, Turkey has won 40 golds, 24 silvers and 30 bronzes. Turkey also holds the record for the most medals won by a country in wrestling.
The country’s most successful games by number of gold medals won was at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where it won 7 gold and 2 silver medals. Its largest ever medals hail was at the 1948 London Olympics, where Turkish athletes won a total of 12 medals: 6 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze.
The Turkish team won seven medals at the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016: 4 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games
Initially scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were delayed by a year due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. They instead started on 23 July 2021 and will run until 8 August.
The 2020 Summer Olympics have brought together over 11,000 athletes from more than 200 countries competing in 46 different sports and 339 events.
Concerns over the spread of the coronavirus led to the Japanese government deciding to bar fans from attending events in enclosed spaces and venues. Athletes and support staff are also being tested every day.