Tokyo champion Gazoz sets eyes on Paris gold
Gazoz beat Italy’s Mauro Nespoli on July 31 in the final to claim Turkey’s first gold medal in Tokyo and the country’s first-ever Olympic medal in the sport.
“After Rio 2016, I made a promise to the Turkish people that I will win a gold medal in Tokyo, and I kept my promise,” the 22-year-old told CNNTürk on Aug. 1.
“I worked hard for the past five years, did everything to win a medal, and finally put the medal around my neck,” he added.
A tweet Gazoz wrote on Aug. 9, 2016, after he was knocked out of the Rio Olympics in the last 16 round, went viral after his victory in Tokyo.
“I will work harder and return from Tokyo with a gold medal,” Gazoz wrote at the time.
Talking about his next goal in mind, Gazoz said, “My next target is to win the gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics.”
World No. 4 Gazoz has two individual Archery World Cup championships, one gold medal in recurve man at Mediterranean Games and two gold medals in the individual category at the European Youth Championships throughout his career.
He was born into a family of archers: His father was a national champion and is currently on the Turkish Archery Federation’s board.
“I am very proud as a father,” said Metin Gazoz, Mert’s father, adding that tremendous efforts were behind his son’s success.
“Mete has been pulling the bow since he was three years old and shooting arrows since he was five,” he said.
“He started working with the national team in 2012, and after Rio, he worked even harder. There were times when we could meet for just 20 days a year. He couldn’t even see his sister much because of hard work; the last time he saw her, he said that ‘she has grown quite a bit.’ There is a lot of dedication. He has become a legend now; when we want to see him, we can always watch videos.”
Meanwhile, Turkish boxer Buse Naz Çakıroğlu beat Jutamas Jitpong of Thailand on Aug. 1 to advance to the semifinals in the women’s 57-kilogram category, guaranteeing Turkey’s second medal in the Olympic women’s boxing event.
Çakıroğlu will fight Hsiao-Wen Huang of Taiwan on Aug. 4 for a place in the final.
Busenaz Sürmeneli will also fight in the semifinals in the 69-kilogram category on Aug. 4, with both boxers already securing to win a bronze medal.