Turkish sprinter sees more glory ahead
Nevin Yanıt says she is happy with making Turkish sports history, but acknowledges that she will fight for greater achievements in the future. Yanıt came fifth in the race won by Sally Pearson (bottom) in a record time. EPA photoTurkish sprinter Nevin Yanıt says she revels in her history-making appearance in the women’s 100-meter hurdles final at the London Olympic Games.
Yanıt had a memorable semifinal performance to storm to the 100-meter finals on Aug. 7, where she managed to finish fifth with a national record of 12.58 seconds. That result was equal to the time fourth-place runner Lolo Jones, the world-famous United States athlete, recorded.
Australia’s Sally Pearson lived up to expectations, winning the gold medal and setting a new Olympic record of 12.35, ahead of Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells of the U.S.
“I am happy, it was like a dream to run in the final among those opponents,” Yanıt told Anatolia news agency. “I am sad [not to have won a medal], but I am happy as well. Finishing the year as the European champion and fifth at the Olympics is good.”
Yanıt had a considerable chance to make it to the podium, having been on her best form in recent months. She had said earlier that she aimed to record 12.59 at the Olympics, bettering the national record of 12.61 she set just weeks before the London Games. Earlier this summer, she successfully defended her European title.
Yanıt’s times of 12.59 seconds in the semifinal and final, which were run within two hours of each other on Aug. 7, were identical.
“I have wanted a medal all along. Breaking the Turkish record in the semifinal gave me hope,” she said. “But I did not foresee that the [top three] would record such good times.”
In a separate interview with Turkish sports channel NTV Spor, Yanıt said she could have won a medal if she had been supported better.
“We trained so hard together, but we had to do everything by ourselves,” Yanıt said. “If we had a better team, I could have won a medal, I could have set a record.”
Her coach, Cüneyt Yüksel, agreed.
“We did not have a squad; we went out with Nevin to lay the hurdles on the training ground,” Yüksel said. “I don’t have an assistant, we don’t have a doctor or a consultant… All those athletes that won medals over Nevin had those teams. If we have help, why shouldn’t Nevin win a medal in 2016?”
Yanıt has other goals before the 2016 Rio Games: She wants to win a medal in the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, her hometown, next year.
“I want to get the best possible result in my hometown, at the sports hall which was named after me,” Yanıt said. “I will sit down and discuss my future goals with my coach. I believe I am among the greatest in the world. I will not aim for the 12.50’s, but the 12.40s.”
Confidence distinguishes Yanıt from the majority of the Turkish Olympic squad, which is having a largely disappointing campaign in London. Most of the underperformers cited “pressure” as a main factor in their failure.
“I just started laughing when I heard them say ‘pressure,’” Yanıt said. “Pressure is inside you. You create that pressure. I came here as the European champion. If there was some pressure, I would be the one to feel it.” k HDN