TUR­KEY’S TAEKWONDO STARS COM­PLETE EACH OTHER IN POOMSAE

Kübra Dağlı and Emirhan Mu­ran are proud to bring the world ti­tle in taekwondo poomsae to Tur­key and look to build on the suc­cess they found as two team­mates in good har­mony

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Sports -

POOMSAE is a lit­tle-known word in the Turk­ish sports world, but two young ath­letes have helped pop­u­lar­ize it af­ter they won gold in the world taekwondo cham­pi­onship in Peru two years ago.

Kübra Dağlı and Emirhan Mu­ran com­plete each other as team­mates as they per­form poomsae, a spe­cific set of moves that make up de­fen­sive and at­tack­ing mo­tions in taekwondo.

Dağlı and Mu­ran enjoy the har­mony they dis­cov­ered by co­in­ci­dence and have faith that it will help them build on their suc­cess in Peru. “We and our train­ers no­ticed that we could im­prove our skills bet­ter to­gether. So, we started work­ing out to­gether in 2014,” Dağlı, who, like Mu­ran, also pur­sues medals in the sin­gles cat­e­gory in taekwondo tour­na­ments, said. Speak­ing to Anadolu Agency (AA), the two ath­letes said they felt like “twins” and com­pli­mented each other.

Twenty-two-year-old Dağlı re­called how they first met. “Both of us live close by, and our train­ers were friends. I was train­ing at a gym, where Emirhan was also train­ing one day. My trainer no­ticed how skill­ful he was. So, we de­cided to pair up,” she said.

“He is a very good train­ing mate. He is tal­ented and mo­ti­vates me a lot. We can as­sess what we are good at and what we do wrong while we train to­gether. I spend more time with him than my fam­ily,” Dağlı says.

Delv­ing into poomsae, Dağlı said that it is ba­si­cally a rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of taekwondo and they compete in “freestyle” where mu­sic ac­com­pa­nies the smooth moves per­formed by ath­letes. “We are free to pick our mu­si­cal num­bers, but there are cer­tain rules. In the end, it is up to us to cre­ate our own chore­og­ra­phy.”

She says they sup­port each other even in bad mo­ments. “I tripped and fell in one con­test once, and we ended up in the third place. We could have eas­ily won it. I cried over it a lot but Emirhan com­forted me by say­ing he would prob­a­bly make the same mis­take if he were in my place. A per­sonal mis­take can cost you a ti­tle in team play and that is a down­side when com­pet­ing to­gether,” she said.

Mu­ran’s gen­der would also be a chal­lenge, but Dağlı said she used it to her own ad­van­tage. “He is more dy­namic and stronger than I am, but it is a plus for me. It mo­ti­vates me to im­prove my­self. In the com­pe­ti­tion, he rep­re­sents the power part of [chore­og­ra­phy] and I play the part of [ath­lete] with fluid moves,” she said.

Mar­tial arts are a fa­mil­ial mat­ter for Dağlı whose fa­ther is a box­ing trainer and the un­cle is a taekwondo trainer. She started out at the age of 13, with karate be­fore switch­ing to taekwondo. “My fa­ther did not want me to box, he thinks it is a very de­mand­ing sport,” she said.

“I did not have any am­bi­tion when I first started taekwondo. Be­ing an Istanbul cham­pion [the city where she lives] was suf­fi­cient for me, but when I started work­ing with a trainer other than my un­cle, he asked me to raise the bar higher,” she said.

Along with pre­par­ing for fu­ture tour­na­ments in Tur­key and other coun­tries, Dağlı now plans to or­ga­nize events along with Emirhan to draw at­ten­tion to taekwondo in Tur­key.

Emirhan Mu­ran, 23, found suc­cess early in his ca­reer in the sin­gles cat­e­gory in lo­cal tour­na­ments, but he se­cured his place in an in­ter­na­tional con­test for the first time af­ter he met Dağlı. Though the duo im­pressed the au­di­ence in tour­na­ments, it was not a smooth path to suc­cess, Mu­ran said, re­fer­ring to their pre-match ar­gu­ments on choos­ing the best chore­og­ra­phy. “We act like twins out there, but it does not ap­ply be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion. We have to dis­cuss a lot about how to do the moves. We are re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery move we do. The World Taekwondo Fed­er­a­tion al­lows ath­letes to use five tech­niques, and we have to in­te­grate them in the chore­og­ra­phy,” he said.

The duo draws their in­spi­ra­tion both from their pre­vi­ous per­for­mances and by watch­ing gym­nasts and dancers.

Mu­ran started his taekwondo ca­reer af­ter watch­ing mar­tial arts films. “I orig­i­nally signed up for kick­box­ing classes, but my trainer was also a taekwondo trainer. Af­ter one month of train­ing for kick­box­ing, he told me I was more suit­able for taekwondo,” as he re­called the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer seven years ago.

Next in his ca­reer is a medal with Dağlı in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I started late [to taekwondo], but I trained a lot. The train­ing helped me more than nat­u­ral tal­ent. We trained with Kübra six days a week. Our first goal was to be Euro­pean cham­pi­ons and af­ter we achieved it, we worked hard for two years for Peru,” he said.

Kübra Dağlı and Emirhan Mu­ran plan to or­ga­nize events in Tur­key to make taekwondo more fa­mil­iar with the pub­lic.

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