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Meet Ugur Aktas, heart and brains of Turkeys next generation of Karate heroes

2018-06-09

In a new episode of our web-series “Meet…” we introduce Turkey’s Ugur Aktas, multi-awarded karateka, leader of the new lineage of successful Turkish Karate athletes, and newly-graduated engineer. 

As Turkey have confirmed their Karate powerhouse status in the last big international events of the sport, with Turkish karatekas owning permanent spots in all the podiums, athletes such as Ugur Aktas have taken a step forward to make Turkey one of the strongest Karate nations in the world. 

“We have our mind set on the Olympic Games and on the World Championships. We are working very hard for these goals; we give our best at training, we analyse our mistakes, and we help each other, that is why we are so strong,” said Aktas.

Spearheaded by 22-year-old Aktas, Turkey have prevailed in the last big international Karate events. Turkish representatives have claimed 27 medals in four Karate 1-Premier League events this year, including nine golds, and they took the second place in the final medal table of the European Championships with 10 medals and three golds. The successful performance of Turkish karatekas has been even more evident in underage categories since two Turkish karatekas are among the first young athletes to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires. Additionally, Turkey earned no less than 18 medals in the 2018 Cadet, Junior & U21 European Championships, and 11 medals in the 2017 Underage World Championships to a final third position in the final medal table. 

“Every athlete dreams on the Olympic Games, and it was definitively my dream when I started in Karate. Whenever I go to a competition, I only have winning medals in my mind; this is what I compete for. Sometimes I lose, sometimes I win but I will continue my path working hard to make my dreams come true, especially going to the Olympic Games and becoming World Champion,” said Aktas who has won four medals this year including gold at Karate 1-Premier League Rotterdam and bronze at the European Championships. 

 Now, as the Karate 1-Premier League is being held in Istanbul this weekend, the 22-year-old kumite ace hopes to continue taking the Turkish flag to the top of the podium in upcoming events. 

“Our goal is the World Championships in Madrid. We really love the atmosphere there and I think it will be a very good tournament for us,” added the current European Championships bronze medallist. 

BALANCING KARATE AND ENGINEERING CAREERS 

Ugur Aktas has found the perfect balance to cultivate both physic and mind. The affable karateka just had a degree in electronic engineering thus breaking the myth of athletes staying away from books. 

“I just graduated! In fact, today I was supposed to attend my graduation ceremony, but I am here! It is no problem for me, this is what I love to do”, said Aktas who started Karate to redirect a troublesome childhood.   

“When I was young I had too much energy, and after getting some wounds and some things broken, my parents decided to take me to the sports hall to do Karate. I started when I was 10 years-old, until now,” said the two-time European Champion. 

As the Karate 1-Premier League continues in Istanbul, the eyes of the sport are set on young and promising athletes such as Ugur Aktas, hoping to continue taking Karate to new levels.  

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