Athletes gets first bonus for historic gold medal
Aslı Çakır Alptekin (2R) and her husband and coach İhsan Alptekin (L) hold a symbolic picture of a house and a key as a bonus from the Üsküdar Municipality. Mayor Mustafa Kara (2L) says Aslı Çakır Alptekin is given a house as a bonus since she ‘has too much gold now.’ AA photoTurkey’s first Olympic gold medalist in athletics, Aslı Çakır Alptekin, was presented her first victory bonus yesterday.
Çakır Alptekin was given a house in Çamlıca, Üsküdar, the district where her club is located.
The 26-year-old athlete made Turkish sports history last week when she won the women’s 1500m title at the London Olympic Games. The athlete was followed by Gamze Bulut, who won the silver in the race to complete a historic one-two finish for Turkey.
Çakır Alptekin, an Üsküdar Municipality Sports Club athlete, was presented her “surprise” gift yesterday.
“We have always given gold to our champion athletes, but Aslı has too much gold now,” Üsküdar Mayor Mustafa Kara said at a press conference yesterday. “Çamlıca is the centerpiece of Üsküdar. And we will give Aslı a house in Çamlıca.”
When asked whether Çakır Alptekin had been told about the bonus before the 2012 London Games, the mayor responded “the gift had always been kept a secret from her.”
Çakır Alptekin will also receive gold coins worth 1.25 million Turkish Liras from the state according to the regulation on awarding athletes who perform on the international stage.
“I won the race with the prayers of the Turkish people, thanks to them,” she said yesterday. “We showed what Turkish women are capable of. But we did not come here easily.”
After the 1500m victory, the Turkish media were quick to focus on the role of her coach and husband, İhsan Alptekin, in the champion’s success. A former athlete, İhsan Alptekin quit sport and focused on her wife’s career.
Coach and husband
“He told me ‘I am not getting any younger but you will be successful,’ and I took his word,” Çakır Alptekin said. “Together, we trained so hard. He has an important role in my success. Thankfully, he is with me.”
The couple said they had never had the time to organize a wedding ceremony, and will have a proper ceremony soon, but “did not decide on the date and the place yet.”
The Olympic gold capped an illustrious season for Çakır Alptekin, who went to London following a bronze medal in the World Indoor Championships and a gold medal in the European Championships.
When asked about her future plans, the champion admitted that she had never looked beyond London.
“My target was the Olympics all along. That was my only focus,” she said. “Frankly, I never thought about what I would do after the Olympics. Now I am the Olympic champion, and I want to enjoy it a little bit. Then I want to break the 1500m record.”