By Halil Ibrahim Avsar
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish athlete Riza Kayaalp returned his hometown Wednesday over his success in the 2019 World Wrestling Championships as a joyful crowd welcomed him in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Kayaalp, who became the first Turkish wrestler to win four world championships in this category, was greeted with enthusiasm at the Esenboga Airport in capital Ankara.
Turkish Wrestling Federation officials, along with his family, welcomed him at the airport to show their joy over his success.
Kayaalp bagged the gold medal in men's Greco-Roman 130 kg final in the World Wrestling Championships over 3-1 win against his Cuban opponent Oscar Pino Hinds in Tuesday's final in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
"I had a dream to become the first Turkish athlete to win four world championships after breaking the record with nine European titles. I wanted to get the ticket for the 2020 Olympics as a world champion and I did it," Kayaalp said.
Kayaalp underlined that the training period before the tournament was very productive.
"I know about most of my competitors in the tournament. But I have had new competitors and they were well prepared for the championship. Because the best six athletes in this championship would have tickets for the Olympics. I showed that I was one step ahead than the other athletes," he added.
Kayaalp said that he was happy to become a world champion on behalf of his country, and adding that he can't wait to join the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
"We will concentrate on the Olympic Games. Because a more challenging process is waiting for us. The Olympics is 11 months away but the time passes quickly. It's my last chance. I hope that I will end my career as an Olympic champion."
Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics on July 24-Aug. 9, 2020.
He added that the records are always broken but what is important is to keep on.
Kayaalp previously won the world title in Istanbul (2011), Las Vegas (2015) and Paris (2017).
He was a silver medalist in 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The World Wrestling Championships will run through Sept. 22.
*Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli