Taha Akgul, the Turkish wrestling great has not participated in any wrestling event since the 2019 world championship in Nur-Sultan. The 2016 Olympic gold medallist Akgul is suffering from shoulder injury and is all set to miss the European championship in Rome. Akgul has been the European champion for record 7 times but he will miss the action in Rome this time. But 29 year old Akgul is confident that his operated shoulder will completely heal before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and he will surely defend his Rio Olympic gold at Tokyo.
“It has been 1 month since I was injured. After the operation period, my rehab process has started for about a week. I will have a 1.5-2 month physical therapy and rehabilitation process. I am confident I will fully recover for Tokyo 2020 ” Akgul confirmed to media.
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Akgul also revealed during the interaction that he was also injured before going into Rio Olympics in 2016. He said at that time it was his groin injury which casted doubts on his preparations which he overcame successfully at Rio and he will do the same thing in Tokyo.
“I had an injury while going to the 2016 Olympics, an 18-inch rupture had formed in my groin. I became Olympic Champion even after that injury. I am again injured before the 2020 Olympics. Of course, this shoulder injury is more serious, it takes time to heal. But I am confident that not only I will recover completely but will also win the gold medal at Tokyo 2020. I just want everyone to pray. ”
Abdullah Çakmar, the coach of Taha Akgül in the national team also sounded confident that he will recover and do well.
“We were very upset that our champion is injured before the Olympic Games. But in 2016 also he had a pre-Olympic injury. Despite everything, he became a champion there. If the rehab process goes well, we will have 2.5 months to prepare for Tokyo. I hope we will prepare well in this 2.5-month period and reach our goal. The important thing here is to be steadfast and patient. At the moment, everyone is following Taha’s progress very closely” said Cakmar.
Injury is not the only thing acting as roadblock in the way of Taha Akgul repeating his Rio performance at Tokyo 2020. 3 time world champion Geno Petriashvili of Georgia is the bigger roadblock for Akgul’s OIympic dreams. Since 2017 no one has dominated the category of 125kg freestyle like the Georgian. 25 year old Petriashvili could only win bronze at Rio but will the current world number 1 will start as favorite at Tokyo Olympics notwithstanding Taha Akgul’s recovery from the injury or not.
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