By Baris Seckin
ROME (AA) – Winning in the 2020 Summer Olympics is the primary objective of Turkish wrestlers, the head of the country's wrestling federation head said on Thursday.
Musa Aydin, chief of the Turkish Wrestling Federation, said they were aware of the importance of the ongoing 2020 European Wrestling Championships in the Italian capital Rome but they were focused on Tokyo 2020.
"We didn't specifically prepare for the European Championships as 2020 is the year of the Olympics… we specially prepare for the quota games in March," he told Anadolu Agency, hoping Turkey would be allowed with Olympics quotas.
"Our goal is to have 12 quotas including four in Greco-Roman, four in freestyle and four in women categories," he said. "If we get 12 quotas in the Olympics, we will fight for 12 medals."
Turkey, Aydin added, won 8 medals in the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, five of which were claimed by wrestlers.
"We will have great success in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as well," the wrestling federation head said, adding that this year's European Championships were meant to gain experience.
He praised Turkish male wrestler Kerem Kamal over his success in Rome. Kamal won a silver medal in the championship on Wednesday. He was defeated by Gevorg Gharibyan from Armenia in the Greco-Roman 60 kg match.
"Kerem Kamal is a big talent. He could have been the champion here [in Rome]. But the important thing is for him to have a quota for the Olympics and be successful in Tokyo. We are very happy with his performance. I hope he will display the same performance in the quota games to be held in Hungary," Aydin said.
Turkey, he said, expects another Olympics gold medal from freestyle wrestler Taha Akgul but he's injured at the moment.
Akgul is one of the most respected wrestlers, winning a gold medal for Turkey in Rio 2016.
"His treatment is ongoing. I hope he will be fine in the shortest time and return to the national team camp. We believe he will win a gold medal in 2020 as he did in Rio 2016," the federation head said.
Akgul, 29, missed the 2020 European Championships due to shoulder injury. He underwent surgery in Dec. 2019.
Turkey's Greco-Roman wrestlers won three medals in Rome as Kamal got silver in the 60 kg category. Besides, other Turkish wrestlers, Selcuk Can (72 kg) and Cenk Ildem (97 kg) claimed bronze in this year's European Championships.
Italy is hosting the 2020 European Championships, which concludes on Feb. 16.
The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Japan’s capital from July 24 to Aug. 9.