ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) Chairman Mehmet Terzi hailed the “history making” athletes who finished the European Championships in Helsinki in the fifth spot on the medals table.
A one-two finish from Turkish athletes Aslı Çakır Alptekin and Gamze Bulut in the women’s 1500-meter on July 1, the final day of the tournament, capped the country’s most successful showing ever in the European Championships. Turkey collected four gold, two silver and one bronze medal, for fifth place overall. Germany led the standings with six gold, six silver and four bronze medals.
“Back in the day, we were satisfied when we had an athlete qualify for the finals,” Terzi said to Anatolia News Agency. “Now we get sad when we think of the medals we could have won.”
Turkey was represented by 41 athletes in Helsinki to break its national track and field record.
“We had three athletes racing against each other in some races. Previously, there were many races we did not have a single athlete in,” Terzi said.
Apart from Alptekin, Turkey’s other three gold medals in the European Championships came on June 30. Nevin Yanıt successfully defended her 100-meter hurdles title and Gülcan Mıngır won the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, while Polat Kemboi Arıkan won the men’s 10,000-meter race.
Tarık Langat Akdağ won a silver medal in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase race while Kemboi Arıkan got a bronze in the men’s 5000-meter race.
“We could have medals from Karin Melis Mey in women’s long jump, Burcu Ayhan in women’s high jump, Hüseyin Atıcı in men’s shot put and Fatih Avan in men’s javelin,” Terzi added. “But still, we had great achievements. Our athletes made history. The next target for us will be the Olympics.”