Turkish judoka affected by postponement of Paralympic Games

By Emre Asikci

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish paralympic judoka Recep Ciftci, who had already secured a spot at the Tokyo Paralympics, says the postponement of Paralympic Games has adversely affected him both mentally and physically.

Ciftci, 25, told Anadolu Agency that the athletes have been preparing for this event for many years, but the decision by the authorities to postpone the event until next year will negatively influence them.

"Looking at the bright side, me personally, I had struggled with a shoulder injury for a while. I couldn't fix it as the date for Paralympics was approaching. The postponement allowed me to sort it out," he said.

– Looking forward to having national anthem played in Tokyo

Ciftci said when he got a quota place for Paralympics he felt extremely happy that he will represent his country in Tokyo.

He said he wants the Turkish national anthem to be played after clinching a gold medal.

"I just set a target that I want to have my name written in letters of gold and the Turkish national anthem played at the greatest sporting competition," he added.

Ciftci said he became interested in judo because it contains features from other sports disciplines and helps people improve their agility.

“Judo helped me have a more open-minded outlook. That’s why I was infatuated with judo."

He also realized the importance of working hard and being full of determination.

"I strongly recommend judo to people who dream of becoming an athlete as it affects their life positively. I even believe that judo can contribute to the development of personal life," he said.

"My greatest recommendation is that those who want to do judo should continue working with determination and faith every day, not just from time to time,"

Ciftci said judo also had a huge also contribution to his personal growth.

"It [contributions of judo] is too many to count. I owe it to judo to better express myself, raise my self-confidence, feel healthy, self-control and always think positively."

Asked about how he prepares his training programs, Ciftci said he does not prepare a program, he just follows the orders of his coach Gultekin Sevinc.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chamber International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons also had supported the decision saying that delaying the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is absolutely the right thing to do.

"The IOC Athletes’ Commission welcomes and fully supports the IOC’s decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 until 2021 in order to protect the health of the athletes, as well as wider society," Parsons added in a statement on Tuesday.

– Spread of COVID-19

The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 175 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 472,100, while the death toll is more than 21,300, and over 114,800 have recovered, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.