Producing hammer throwing athletes rare Turkish habit

Turkish male hammer thrower Ozkan Baltaci, who already sealed a spot in Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said while there are sprinters by the dozens, finding even 10 hammer throwers would be difficult.

Baltaci, 24, told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview that Turkey had just a few hammer throwers such as Esref Apak and Fatih Eryildirim as hammer throw athletes can't be easily produced.

Apak, 38, is ranked 48th in the globe meanwhile Baltaci came 14th in the world's best hammer throwers' list as World Athletics said on the website.

Baltaci secured his spot a year ago for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games after throwing the mallet 77.5 meters in a 2019 local competition, meeting the threshold.

He said that once he threw the mallet 77.5 meters in 2019, he was extremely happy to book his place in Tokyo 2020.

"The top 32 athletes are invited to the Olympic games, I was at 25th place but then some athletes moved past me and I slipped to the 33rd spot [in world rankings]," he said.

"So I didn't take part in Rio 2016 and I was brought there as a guest sportsman by the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Turkish Athletic Federation."

Baltaci stated that he joined all international competitions in this branch but is yet to enter the Olympic games.

Discipline: Keyword for hammer throwing

Asked about his training program, Baltaci said that being a well-disciplined athlete is important for the hammer throw.

"I am an athlete for 11 years. I come to every training an hour earlier. But when I arrive late, I feel bad," Baltaci said.

"Athletics has two seasons, winter and summer. Summer is more important than the winter, the aim in winter is to prepare for the big competitions in the summer months," he said and adding that he is busier during winter to prepare for summer physically.

Baltaci also said that he does double training six days a week, two hours in the mornings and three hours in the evenings.

Turkish youth have good opportunities to do sports

Baltaci also said Turkey has currently high-quality sports facilities for the country's youth.

"I advise to all youths to prefer hammer throw. It is very important to raise future sportsmen," Baltaci remarked and adding that he will raise athletes after he retires.

Baltaci stated that Turkey has adequate facilities for hammer throwers and medical staff such as doctors, physios, dietitians and masseurs are providing them everything they need.

He added that athletes should be encouraged for the hammer throwing and they should find a chance to do sports and reach equipment.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will run between July 24 and Aug. 9.

Source: Anadolu Agency