Turkey’s Kayaalp grabs 11th European wrestling gold in Budapest


Turkish world champion wrestler Rıza Kayaalp looked like he needed help on the mat on Saturday: Surely not to defeat his opponent, but to count the number of championships he has won on the European stage as he posed for a photo that became his trademark.

In the Greco-Roman style wrestling, Kayaalp bagged the gold for the 11th time after defeating Italy’s Danila Sotnikov 4-0 in the men’s 130-kilogram final, improving his own record.

Kayaalp dedicated his win in the Hungarian capital Budapest to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1 patient Eslem Fatma Altındağ, and said the championship prize will be used for her treatment.

Turkish wrestler Rıza Kayaalp celebrates his 11th gold medal in the European Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, April 2, 2022. (DHA Photo)

Turkish wrestler Rıza Kayaalp celebrates his 11th gold medal in the European Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary, April 2, 2022. (DHA Photo)

Youth and Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoğlu hailed Kayaalp for his win while also congratulating Turkish athletes Yunus Emre Başar and Emre Mutlu, who won silver and bronze medals in the 55-kg and 63-kg categories, respectively.

The 32-year-old wrestler has four world championship titles, along with one silver and two bronze medals won in the Olympics.

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