Mental health vital to success of athletes: Expert
In order for athletes to stay in good mental health, training should be given to help them overcome anxiety, improve concentration, build confidence and even manage anger, a Turkish expert has said, amid an ongoing debate that some of the athletes at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games had to deal with high expectations that led to overwhelming pressure.
Selvanur Akkurt, a psychologist and a former national karate player, said it is of great importance for an athlete to get rid of their mental anxieties and solve their concentration problems in order to achieve and maintain success.
“If 50 percent of success depends on physical strength, the remaining 50 percent depends on mental and psychological health,” she said, noting that mental health is a vital factor in athlete success.
The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics drew attention not only with incredible examples of success, but also with the emotional reactions of some athletes, in particular minor figure skaters who had been clearly under enormous pressure.
The 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva broke down in tears in devastating scenes after falling in the finale and missing a medal while a footage of a nervous breakdown of her 17-year-old teammate, Alexandra Trusova, went viral on social media which disturbed the audience, including International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
Expressing that athletes need to be trained in issues such as anxiety, concentration, self-confidence and even anger control in order to be successful, the expert suggested that especially young athletes should receive professional support.
The expert stated that psychological support is most needed when returning to sports after injury.
Pointing out that the mental support opportunities for improving the psychology of the athletes are not widespread enough in Turkey, Akkurt expressed that psychological support is essential for the athlete to reveal and maintain their potentials.
Olympic jumper back in skiing
Turkish ski jumper Fatih Arda İpcioğlu has visited the Palandöken Ski Center located in the eastern province of Erzurum “to relieve stress” following the end of the Olympics.
İpcioğlu, who came 40th in the games with a 124-meter jump and 109.5 points in Beijing, is back to skiing again on Mount Palandöken after a break at home for a brief period.
Expressing that he wants to transfer his experiences to future generations, İpcioğlu stated that he is happy because interest in ski jumping in Turkey is increasing day by day.
He also said new athletes started jumping from ramps in Erzurum.