Main sponsor believes in women’s basketball team
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows the Turkish national women’s basketball team during a training session at Abdi İpekçi Sports Hall. The squad is continuing its preparations in Istanbul and will leave for London next week.
The main sponsor of the Turkish national women’s basketball team believes the team is a sure bet to advance to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics.
“I already got my ticket to London for the quarterfinals. I think the team also has a strong chance of making it to the finals as well,” Nafiz Karadere, Garanti Bank’s executive vice president, said yesterday at a reception for the national team, which will be competing in the Olympics for the first time.
“It is an attainable goal,” said the team’s American-Turkish member, Quanitra Hollingsworth, in regard to Karadere’s confidence that the team can advance to the quarterfinals.
The squad is continuing its preparations for the upcoming competition in Istanbul and will leave for London next week.
“In the Olympic games, there are no bad teams,” said Işıl Alben, the point guard of the squad, but noted that the American and Russian squads looked to be the games’ strongest teams.
“I played against a lot of them,” Hollingsworth said when asked about playing against the U.S. “There won’t be any difference than any other game.”
Hollingsworth, 23, plays for Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg. She acquired Turkish citizenship this year to be eligible to play for the Turkish national women’s basketball team. The London games will provide her with her first taste of national team and Olympic basketball.
The bank sponsors two more female athletes
Garanti has been the main sponsor of the Men’s National Basketball Team, dubbed the 12 Giant Men, since 2001. The bank became the main sponsor of the women’s team in 2005 to support that year’s European Ladies Basketball Championship in Turkey, dubbing the team “Fairies of the Hoop” in a promotion campaign.
The bank also supports two successful female track and fields athletes, Gülcan Mıngır (3000m steeplechase) and Aslı Çakır Alptekin (1500m), who are both medal hopefuls in London having clinched European titles earlier this month.
Success should not be expected immediately, as sponsorship is a long-term endeavor, said Karadere, adding that the women’s team finished second in last year’s European Women Championships in Poland.
Recalling that the bank began supporting basketball in the early 2000s, Garanti Executive President Ergün Özen said: “I now say what a good decision we took back then. The [women’s] team has done incredible things. We are pleased to support basketball in a country where football is so dominant.”
Turkey is sending a record number of female athletes to the Olympics this year, outnumbering the males.
Turkish Olympic sailors leave for London games
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The Turkish Olympics sailing team that will represent the country in the 2012 Olympic Games flew to London yesterday, with hopes of winning a medal.
The squad traveling to London included Dönertaş, Mustafa Çakır (laser standard) and Alican Kaynar (finn).
Dönertaş said her real target would be the 2016 Olympics. “My bronze medal in the European championships has raised expectations,” she said. “I will try to be a medal competitor this time, but the main target is a medal in the next Olympics.”