A great feat was achieved by a 17-year-old student from Crete who climbed to the top of the podium of the kickboxing world championship.
The teenager, who lives in Poros Heraklion, is an up-and-coming athlete in martial arts and combat sports.
Gerland Geka ranked first in the world ranking of junior kick boxing, more specifically in the light contact and kick light categories.
He spoke to Nea Kriti about his sports career, which started from an early age.
"I started combat sports from a young age. I started Greco-Roman wrestling. I did tae-kwon-do it and in recent years I've been doing kickboxing," Gerland said.
He spoke, among other things, about his goals: "Personally, I want to stay at the same level after the World Championship. I want to reach high. I have big goals and I believe in myself."
"In the last few weeks before going down to the world championships I did 13-14 hours of training to be as ready as possible," the teenager said.
Describing the moment he managed to win the World Championship, the athlete said: "At first I didn't believe it. It was a success that came from heaven, in the sense that at first I did not expect that I had achieved something so important. I feel justified in the effort."
"I remember talking to my father, who was watching me online. My father was shouting with joy. Even the neighbours heard him when I came out first. My family and coach are my support," Geka said.
He emphasised that he feels proud to have come out first with the Greek national emblem. His parents are of Albanian origin, but he himself is Greek, he says.
"Greece gave birth to me. I am Greek. I always had Greek coaches. I went to a Greek school. Greece is my family and my home. This is where I come from. I feel happy and excited to have reached such a high level in combat sports,” said the champion.
"Belief in yourself"
Speaking about the recipe for success, he asserted: "The secret is to listen to the coach. Don't worry and believe in yourself . I know how to manage my anxiety and at the same time I believe in my physical and mental strength."
During 2022, Gerland achieved amazing records as he became the pan-Hellenic champion in kickboxing and the pan-European champion in tae-kwon-do.
This year he will take nationwide exams for a position in the Higher Educational Institutions .
"I will not stop martial arts, nor combat sports. I want to take exams to pass either the Fire Academy or the Gymnastics Academy," he said.