16-year-old diver wins 62 medals despite training in sponge pool
AFYONKARAHİSARA 16-year-old national athlete awarded with 62 medals, of which most are gold, has been training in a sponge pool because of the lack of Olympic pools in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Yaprak Selin Keskin, a high school student, said she was only able to access real pools when training for competitions.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Sports Ministry called her, promising to provide a real pool for her in Ankara.
Keskin has reportedly been training for diving competitions on cushions until two years ago. She continued her trainings after the sports facility, where she has been training, designed a makeshift pool with sponges, which is one meter in depth.
Keskin, however, has expressed her frustration with working under such difficult circumstances, adding that the depth of the pool was not enough.
“I am doing my trainings, imagining that it was a real pool. But it will never compensate a real one. When I try to develop new styles of diving, I fail. The pools closest to us are in Ankara,” she added.
“The depth of the pool should be at least three meters. I am not the only one who will benefit when these problems are fixed. A lot of our brothers and sisters will benefit from it. I think Afyonkarahisar is a province which is capable of doing that,” she said.
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Akif Çağatay Kılıç has said on his official Twitter account that Yaprak would continue training at the Olympiad Preparation Center in Ankara.
“Our national athlete Yaprak Selin Keskin will practice at the Olympiad Preparation Center in Ankara’s Eryaman district from now on. Our sister, Yaprak, will prepare for the competitions with more concentration and ease. We, as the ministry, will continue to work hard for our young athletes, who are the most precious values of our future,” he said.
Kılıç also called her, saying he was proud of her.
Keskin said she was happy to train in a real swimming pool, adding that her dream “came true.”
Keskin started diving in 2009, at the age of 8. She won a total of 62 medals, of which 36 are gold. She won all categories in competitions that she attended between 2010 and 2016.
Keskin came second at the 14th Belgrade Diving Trophy in 2016.