Mete Gazoz praised by his peers as a ‘world-class player’

Mete Gazoz’s celebration after a match win.

Mete Gazoz continues to amaze the archery fraternity with his extraordinary results in major events.

With the latest addition of European title to his glittering cabinet, Turkish star has become the first archer in history to hold the Olympic, World and European Champion crowns at the same time.

In Essen, Mete displayed an ominous form just three months before the Paris 2024 Olympics, sending a strong warning of his readiness for the Games.

While Gazoz admitted he is thinking about Paris, one of his main rival and a legend in the game, Kim Woojin, has described him as a ‘world-class player’.

“In his best form, he [Mete] can win the big championships,” said Woojin, a two-time Olympic team gold medallist and three-time World Archery Champion.

Still seeking his first individual Olympic medal, the Korean star didn’t rule himself out of podium contention at Paris 2024, but admitted being aware of Mete’s potential and his incredible current form.

Japan’s seasoned star Takaharu Furukawa too joined the bandwagon saying that Mete is a ‘strong’ competitor.

“He [Mete] is very confident, he is doing very well throughout the year,” the five-time Olympian stated. “In Paris, he and Kim Woojin will be the top contenders.”

The 39-year-old, however, is hoping to ride on his Olympic experience to put up a strong challenge in Paris, as he will be shooting in his sixth Games.

Turkish men celebrating together.

This summer, Mete will be attempting to become the first archer in the sport’s history to successfully defend his title at an Olympics.

However, the Turkish star doesn’t look at it that way.

“I will try to win the Olympics for the first time,” the 24-year-old claimed. “If I try to protect my title, it’s tough and there will be pressure, so I forget about the past and I think about winning it for the first time.”

“My form (both physical and mental) is really good, at present. And day by day, it’s going to be better.”

Gazoz admitted to have enjoyed strong competitions against Brady Ellison, Marcus D’Almeida, Woojin and Lee Wooseok, and hopes to play some good matches against them in Paris.

But more than the individual gold, Mete is preparing to win the team gold medal, which would be a historic first for Türkiye.

The men’s trio of Mete, Berkim Tumer and Abdullah Yildirmis finished second to the Korean star team of Woojin, Wooseok and Kim Je Deok at the Berlin 2023 Hyundai World Archery Championships last summer. 

The Koreans already have a gold and a silver in the two World Cup stages played so far this season.

Overcoming the Korean challenge – which also has Woojin and Je Deok as Olympic Champions – would be among Türkiye’s top priority.

“If we win can the team gold medal, I can definitely win the individual medal,” claimed Gazoz.

Mete Gazoz celebrates Olympic title with his coach.

National head coach Yusuf Goktug Ergin seconded his foal’s thoughts saying that they work for winning, not for defending a title.

He further explained the theory behind Mete’s rising form in the second halves each year – which included his gold medal wins at the Tokyo Olympics and then in Berlin in 2023.

“Before Rio and Tokyo also, we had a quite good plan and schedule as we followed a same schedule.”

“We are using some kind of formula because it is always working for him, to have his peak performance at the 28th week of the year, which is exactly the Olympic period.”

The coach further added the work in the winter season was the start of the plan.

“And we expect he will rise up in his form just end of June and before the Olympics, he is all ready to win it all again.”

In archery, it all comes down to how well one can tackle mental pressure and stay calm to be the winner, and Goktug feels that Mete’s powerful psychology makes him special.

“He doesn’t have any disappointment, he always feel comfortable and he always finds ways to fun in shooting,” summed up the 39-year-old, he who saw that ‘special thing’ in the archer right from the early days of shooting – when Mete shot his first arrow at the national training camp in 2013.

Gazoz was part of Türkiye’s silver medal winning men’s team in the same year before claiming three titles at the European Youth Championships in 2017 and 2018.

“In Paris, his [Mete’s] biggest challenge will be himself,” Ergin said. “If he can beat himself, he can be the champion.”