ANKARA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Taha Akgul, the white rose, who won the only gold medal for Turkey in Rio, is eager to defend his crown in the next Olympic Games.
The surname of Taha, is Akgul, which means "white rose" in Turkish, and he almost blossom in every European and World Wrestling Championships from 2012.
"I got in the Turkish National Wrestling Team for the first time in 2012. And I won a gold medal at the European Wrestling Championship in 2012. After that I won all the European Wrestling Championship from 2012 to 2015 and the World Wrestling Championship in 2014 and in 2015. And the last, I took the gold in Rio, the only gold medal of Turkey in the Rio Games," Akgul told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in Ankara on Nov. 24.
The 2016 Olympic medal was not a easy win for Akgul. During the Rio Olympics, a coup was attempted in Turkey against state institutions which also affected the Turkish athlete and laid huge pressure on Akgul.
According to Akgul, the failed coup on July 15 made all Turkish sportsmen who joined the Olympic Games were in bad psychological situation. It affected their performance. Turkey couldn't win gold medal before Tahas' final match. So it made a big pressure to him.
"At the final match day, It was certain that I was going to win at least silver medal, but I couldn't be happy for that because I had to win. So I even didn't go to the Olympic Village. I waited at Turkey changing room for 7 hours and concentrated with my final match. So it was a really hard battle, and I believe that all Turkish people prayed for me," Akgul said.
My future goal is to win all the European and World Wrestling Championships and the next Olympic Games, Akgul said.
"My father was a wrestler, and I decided to pick wrestling as my career when I was 12. At the beginning my brother and I wrestled together at home in Sivas, a central Anatolian city famous for wrestling. I also went to the Wrestling Education Center at Sivas during my high school. Unfortunately, during the early 5 or 6 years, I couldn't make enough progress as a good wrestler, so I quit the wrestling and went to Izmir for university, and stop wrestling for 3 years," Akgul recalled.
However, Wrestling came to Akgul just like a fate designed for him during his college life in Izmir and from that time he started to win medals.
"I found a wrestling club by chance in Izmir and began to wrestling again. Then I began to win medals at some wrestling tournaments in Turkey, and the trainers of Turkish National Wrestling Team started to approach me. They invited me to the national team's training camp," Akgul said, adding that he kept improving his skills match by match, camp by camp.
Winning gold medal is not easy for any player in high level competitions and it is even hard for wrestling which consume large energy in every second. "You have to work systematically to be successful about this sport. You have to sacrifice your time and your relation with your friends and family, because you have to eat, rest and work systematically to be successful. I always work to the last drop of my blood at my training. If you don't feel pain at the training, you can not reach the success," Akgul said.
Talking about wrestling in China, Akgul said, "China has good wrestlers especially in 50kg, 55kg or 60kg categories. I suggest that Chinese wrestlers work systematically. Turkey always makes dual camps with a national wrestler team of other countries. We can make dual training camp together to improve our skills and relations."
"And now my goal is to be the Olympic champion again in Tokyo 2020," Akgul said, adding that he wants to be trainer or may be the manager of the Turkish Wrestling Federation.
"I'm making master degree about sport science at a university and I have very good experience as a sportsman," he said.
With a determined goal in mind, Akgul quickly went back to the wrestling mat after the interview.