Akgul Named 2022 Freestyle Wrestler of the Year
Monday, December 26, 2022 - 14:51 By Eric Olanowski
CORSIER-SUR-VEVEY, Switzerland (December 26) --United World Wrestling has announced Taha AKGUL (TUR) as the 2022 Freestyle Wrestler of the Year after his three title-winning performances in 2022.
Akgul, the three-time world champion, missed out on podium-topping finishing at the World Championships for the last seven years, with his last gold coming in 2015 in Las Vegas. But Akgul rejuvenated his winnings ways in 2022, as he defeated 2021 world champion Amirhossein ZARE (IRI) in the semifinals of the World Championships, before defeating Lkhagvagerel MUNKHTUR (MGL), 6-2, to win his third world title.
At the beginning of the season, Akgul won the Yasar Dogu Ranking Series gold with five dominant wins. The 32-year-old followed his promising Istanbul performance up with a sensational European Championships, closing out the competition with a three-point win over his arch-rival Geno PETRIASHVILI (GEO) to win his ninth European C’ship gold.
The three gold medals in 2022 also pushed Akgul to 68000 ranking points, enough for him to finish on the top of the pile at 125kg.
Akgul, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, was asked about the difference between his titles in 2015 and 2022.
"Nothing has changed. I have lost twice in the final in the past, that was very annoying. I would have been world champion five times if that had not happened. If I stay healthy and train well, I can beat everyone,” Akgul had said after winning gold in Belgrade.