Turkey’s Ciloglu Thanks Judo For High Goals

One of the most skilled judokas in Turkey, the 21-year-old Bilal Ciloglu has quickly made a name for himself. Starting judo when he was 11, he won gold in his first time competing in the Turkish Championships. From there, Ciloglu’s love for the sport only grew.

Speaking to Judo Inside, Ciloglu discussed his rise to the top and what the sport means to him. Sometimes, he must take out what some believe to be the normal wants and needs of a child to achieve his goal.

“Yes, many things,” Ciloglu stated when asked if he has sacrificed a lot in his life. “I don’t spend enough time with my family, my friends, my girlfriend. I don’t go on holidays like other people. I just can’t spare the time. But I don’t complain about this because I have my goals.”

As a result of training harder than a majority of judokas, Ciloglu has won medals in the World and Continental Championships. He also won the World Junior Title in 2018. One of his short-term goals is to win European gold and a World medal. His long-term is to win the gold medal in the Olympics. With the Summer Games postponed to 2021 and the IJF expanding its qualifying period, the latter goal doesn’t seem that far off from happening.

A master of the Kouchi-Gake, Ciloglu can make any opponent fall due to his long and powerful legs. He also loves performing moves like the Osoto-Gari, Kosoto-Gari, and Sumi-Gaeshi. Ciloglu practices the moves nonstop, and as a result, he was able to move from junior to senior judo quickly. From there, anything became possible.

“I would say my passion for judo made me want to set high goals for myself in this sport,” Ciloglu continued.

With judo competition on hold due to the coronavirus, Ciloglu has a chance to teach those his ways. He was trained by teachers invested in his progress. Ciloglu believes that is what can help make the younger generation of judokas great.

“I think the most important thing is to look for a good coach,” Ciloglu said. “You need to find someone knowledgeable to guide you. In Turkey, the selection is done after the national championships every year. The ones who make it will be invited to attend a national team camp and they will select some to go for international competitions.”

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