#Tokyo10: Mete Gazoz’s talent clear arriving at second Olympics

#Tokyo10: Mete Gazoz.

#Tokyo10 profiles 10 archers poised to make an impact at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

  • Name: Mete Gazoz, recurve man from Turkey. 
  • Age: 22
  • World ranking: 2
  • Olympic experience: 2016

Mete Gazoz made his Olympic debut as a teenager at Rio 2016, and he considers himself to be an even better shooter now than he was five years ago. Yet it took a while for that improvement to manifest in a second Olympic quota. 

With his ticket to Tokyo finally booked at the penultimate qualifier – for European nations – on home soil in Antalya, the world number two will look to further confirm the lofty expectations set for him when he competes in the second Olympics of his young career.

Can the talented youngster put it all together when it matters most in Tokyo?

Mete Gazoz shoots at the Antalya 2021 European Championships.

Reasons for hope

Mete Gazoz is, without doubt, one of the finest young archery talents of this generation – but raw talent never guarantees you a spot for or a result at the Games.

Just like at Rio 2016, Gazoz left qualifying until the last minute in 2021, booking his ticket at the European Championships. On the way to the spot, the world number two got through a match against Galsan Bazarzhapov in which the Russian shot sets of 29, 28, 29, 29 and 29 points. Gazoz then went on to win the qualifying tournament – again, just as he did in 2016.

He has also finished in the top 10 of all three Hyundai Archery World Cup stages this year – but not made a final four.

It was always likely that Mete would get to Tokyo, but it was a nerve-wracking couple of years for Gazoz after failing to grab a place at any of the early opportunities in 2019.

Frustratingly, it was that the same year he showed the world what he was capable of: shooting high-690s in qualifying, beating Bae Jae Hyeon to gold at the fourth stage of the international circuit in Berlin, and – at that same event – leading the Turkish recurve men’s team to gold by beating Germany, Korea, the USA and Ukraine… all in shoot-offs.

Two years ago, he also took a pair of mixed team medals on the circuit with Yasemin Anagoz. All this was on top of an equally amazing 2018, when he beat Lee Woo Seok in the final of the Berlin stage and won the World Archery awards for recurve man and breakthrough archer of the year.

Anagoz also qualified for Tokyo last month in Antalya.

Both of their careers have been closely nurtured by coach Goktug Ergin, who believes absolutely that his archer is capable of a gold medal in Tokyo – and in Paris in 2024, too. Gazoz has already shown he has the potential to be the greatest European archer of his era… if he can step up and deliver at the right time.

After a good but not spectacular first few months of 2021, now is that time.

Mete Gazoz shoots at the fourth stage of the 2019 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Berlin.

Reasons for concern

It’s no secret that Mete’s results have been up and down. His inconsistency, especially in matchplay, has been his downfall. (He has shown a tendency to beat high-ranked archers and lose to lower-ranked ones.) It’s in the early rounds of a tournament that things tend to go wrong – he’s a showman who thrives on the big stage. It’s a good sign, then, that every single match at the Olympics takes place in the arena.

Path to victory

Shooting higher poundage than most of the men’s field – a big advantage in strong wind – Mete’s ability has really shown in the qualifying rounds, where he is now a permanent fixture in the recurve men’s top eight at major tournaments. It seems likely he’ll be among the top eight men in Tokyo, too. But he has also beaten two of the top Korean men in gold medal matches at major events. It’s the middle bit, the first couple of head-to-heads, where he’ll need to maintain his focus.

Did you know?

Mete’s personal best for qualifying is 698 points, which is also the European record and the joint fourth-highest score ever shot by a recurve man in major competition.

Header artwork by Eduardo Batán Molina.