Turkish athlete gears up for championships while shepherding and waitressing
ARDAHAN - Doğan News Agency
Gülcan Palavan, an 18-year-old national athlete who ranked third in the World International Mountain Running Youth Cup in 2015 in Bulgaria, gets ready for the championships while working as a shepherd and waitress at the same time in the eastern province of Ardahan.
Palavan’s adventure with sports started when her coach Halil İbrahim Yılmaz discovered her talent in running competitions held at their elementary school. She was in fifth grade when her coach steered her towards athletics.
The young athlete has participated in numerous competitions across different cities and has obtained outstanding results.
In 2015, she drew attention after ranking third in the World International Mountain Running Youth Cup in 2015 in Bulgaria. Now, many people in Turkey talk about her success story.
Palavan graduated from high school last year and lives with her family in a village in Ardahan. She is not only a successful athlete, but also contributes to her family’s livelihood and earns her own money.
She usually gets up early to help her family feed the animals in the barn and runs 13 kilometers from her village to the center of Ardahan’s Göle district as part of her training, Palavan told Doğan News Agency.
Then, she distributes a local newspaper in the district and goes to the restaurant where she works as a waitress.
Meanwhile, she also studies for the nation-wide university entrance exams.
Speaking to Doğan News Agency, Palavan said her biggest aspiration is to continue to run and study in university at the same time. She added that she aims to represent Turkey in championships in the best way possible.
“I was born and raised in this village, shepherding with my father. My journey started when I was in fifth grade, thanks to my coach at school in the village. I continue my training and studies in order to be able to go to university and financially contribute to my family at the same time,” she said.
Palavan’s family said they are proud of her success. Her coach added that he believes she will achieve more success in running, but it is crucial for her to focus on her studies at the same time.