Turkish wrestler becomes world champion for 12th time

Turkish wrestler Rıza Kayaalp became European Champion for the 12th time on April 22 in the Greco-Roman style 130 kg category at the 2023 European Wrestling Championship in Croatia.

Kayaalp defeated Sabah Saleh Shariati from Azerbaijan with a 2-1 result to win the gold medal in Zagreb.

The Turkish wrestler beat Serbia's Boris Petrusic, Norway's Oskar Marvik and Lithuania's Mantas Knystautas to advance to the final, respectively. He also equaled iconic Russian wrestler Aleksandr Karelin's record of 12 European gold medals.

Kayaalp won gold medals in European championships in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022, as well as silver medals in 2011.

Last year, he won the top spot in Greco-Roman 130 kilograms at the World Wrestling Championship in Serbia, making history as the first Turkish wrestler to win the world championship for the fifth time.

He was also the European and world champion in 2021 and took the top spot in the World Wrestling Association's 2022 world rankings.

The prominent wrestler has won three Olympic medals in his career, including bronze at London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 and silver at Rio 2016.

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