The latest Judo News offered by

Judo in the time of Covid-19: Bilal Ciloglu

5 May 2020 14:40

 JudoCrazy by Oon Yeoh    IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

Perhaps the biggest talent of Turkey ever, Bilal Ciloglu became Junior World Champion in 2018 and for sure he will qualify for the Games, but he wants more, why not in 2021. Turkey closed quite late for the coronacrisis, Oon Yeoh of JudoCrazy asked him how he is doing and all about his ambitions and weapons.

JIC: How is the Covid-19 situation where you live?

BC: It is not too severe here but most places are closed. We are spending time at home and only going out to buy necessities.

JIC: When was the last time you did judo?

BC: I was in Japan for judo training in March but since I returned to Turkey, I’ve not done any judo.

JIC: Are you doing some solo training at home?

BC: Of course, I have to. It’s not the same as normal judo training but at least it keeps me fit. Not as satisfying as real judo but I’m happy.

JIC: Besides training, what else are you doing?

BC: Just spending time with the family. Normally, when I’m doing judo, I don’t get to spend that much time with them, so in this sense there is something good to come out of it. I try to look at the bright side of things. 

JIC: Prior to the lock-down how often did you train in judo?

BC: We were on a rigorous program because of the Olympics, so we trained twice a day.

JIC: How old were you when you started judo and did you like it straight away?

BC: I was 11 when I started but to be honest, I preferred football. But my father encouraged me to stick with judo, so I did. I became champion in my first Turkish Championships, so I started training very seriously after that.

JIC: What’s a typical route for a Turkish kid who wants to grow up to be an international competitor?

BC: I think the most important thing is to look for a good coach. 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.

JIC: What made you want to compete at such a high level?

BC: I would say my passion for judo made me want to set high goals for myself in this sport.

JIC: As a full-time athlete, who pays your salary?

BC: I receive my basic salary from my club but the Olympic Committee gives some additional support.

JIC: How do you feel about your transition from junior to senior judo?

BC: I like it because I want to do real judo. To me cadet and junior judo are just stepping stones to the real thing. It is important that I fight strong seniors to prove myself. Now, I am fighting the best in the world and I enjoy it very much.

JIC: Speaking of the best, you’ve fought Shohei Ono and Soichi Hashimoto — both huge throwers — but neither of them could throw you. Ono had to resort to groundwork and Hashimoto relied on penalties to win. No doubt you were defeated but was it some consolation that they couldn’t throw you?

BC: There is some consolation but I’m not satisfied with it. I view these as learning experiences. I made mistakes but I learned from them. I want this. I need this in order to improve.

JIC: Do you think you can beat Ono the next time you meet him?

BC: Let’s just say I have a new strategy for fighting him!

JIC: Your kouchi-gake is wicked. What’s the secret to it?

BC: Well, I have very long legs and I'm able to use my legs to hook my opponent from any gripping position. Once I hook in, I will persist until my opponent goes down.

JIC: What other techniques do you like?

BC: Osoto-gari, kosoto-gari and sumi-gaeshi. All these techniques suit my long legs and they've work well for me in competition.

JIC: Any long-legged technique you’ve yet to master?

BC: Yes, uchimata. Sadly.

JIC: What are your short-term goals?

BC: An European gold and a World medal.

JIC: Let me guess, your long-term goal is to become Olympic champion?

BC: That’s right. I will not stop until I get that gold medal.

JIC: Do you feel you sacrifice a lot of things for your judo aspirations?

BC: Yes, many things. 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.

JIC: What aspects of training do you like and dislike?

BC: I don’t like training at all… but I like the results of training!

JIC: What is judo to you?

BC: My job, my passion, my life.

Become a JudoCrazy Patron and read all their stories here

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Related judoka and events

Related Judo Photos

  • Bilal Ciloglu (TUR) - Grand Slam Paris (2020, FRA) - © Klaus Müller, Watch:
  • Bilal Ciloglu (TUR) - Grand Prix Antalya (2019, TUR) - © Turkish Judo Federation
  • Bilal Ciloglu (TUR) - Grand Slam Paris (2020, FRA) - ©, judo news, results and photos

Related Judo Videos

Related Judo News


Super talent Bilal Ciloglu claims first Grand Slam for Turkey

25 Oct 2019 18:25

Bilal Ciloglu produced the best display of his young career as he defeated world number eight Arthur Margelidon (CAN) to claim the U73kg title in Abu Dhabi and became the first Turkish man to win Grand Slam gold. The world number 17 from Turkey, who was in his first Grand Slam final, came up with the only score in the first men’s final of the day as he caught Margelidon with a ko-uchi-gake for a waza-ari score with 20 seconds left on the clock. Read more


Khikmatillokh Turaev defends Tashkent gold with success

21 Sep 2019 16:05

Once Khikmatillokh Turaev proved to be the strongest in his category U73kg with a victory at the home Grand Prix in Tashkent where he prolonged his title and defeated Behruzi Khojazoda (TJK) in the final. Despite the support of the entire public, the Uzbek seemed very quickly helpless against the ardor of the Tajik who thanks to a superb ippon-ko-uchi-gari, scoring waza-ari, took the lead of the final. Read more


Shohei Ono looks concentrated, Azeri men eager to stunt

27 Aug 2019 11:25

In the Preliminaries at the World Championships in Tokyo not so many surprises in the men;s U73kg. Most of the favourites qualified or simply had tough opponents. In pool C opt favourite and Olympic champion Shohei Ono Shohei breezed into the last four with an effortless display as he won all four of his bouts by ippon. Read more


The 5 biggest male judo breakthroughs of 2018

27 Dec 2018 15:35

Who are the ten groundbreaking talents who really emerged this year, at any level? We closely watched judoka born from 1998 onwards. Some of the most absolutely amazing stars of this year, such as Sherazadishvili, Igolnikov or Gjakova had already experienced their breakthroughs, but nonetheless had their best year ever and are expected to develop further. Read more


Turkey’s Ciloglu breaks Japanese resistance to go one better than 2017 silver

19 Oct 2018 08:00

Turkish top talent Bilal Ciloglu showed his maturity and top level experience by coming from behind to defeat a Japanese judoka in a major final which is an extremely rare feat. Read more

First description

Judo birthday

Result City Date
1Budapest23 Oct
2Düsseldorf21 Feb
Result City Date
1Düsseldorf21 Feb


First description Second description Third description Four description