Six-time Olympiad swimmer seeks a place in records book

Six-time Olympiad swimmer seeks a place in records book

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Six-time Olympiad swimmer seeks a place in records book

A record number of 33 Turkish athletes have booked their places in the competition.

The Turkish Swimming Federation will seek Guinness recognition for swimmer Derya Büyükuncu, who will compete at the Olympics for a record sixth time in London this year.

Federation chair Ahmet Mazhar Bozdoğan told the Anatolia news agency that they would file the application after Büyükuncu had competed in the London Games.

“Very few athletes have the privilege of competing six times in Olympics, and Derya will be the first swimmer ever to accomplish it,” Bozdoğan said. “He is the best Turkish swimmer ever. He has made Turkey proud, and we want this achievement to be recognized by the Guinness World Records.”

Bozdoğan rejected media reports suggesting a rift between the federation and Büyükuncu, noting that the federation does its best for the country’s success in swimming pools.

The 36-year-old Büyükuncu announced on July 2 that he had been given the green light from FINA, world swimming’s governing body, to participate in his sixth Olympic Games, in London.

From pool to TV

Büyükuncu - who found fame in Turkey when he participated in “Yok Böyle Dans,” the Turkish version of television show “Dancing with the Stars, as well as “Survivor” - is Turkey’s most active swimmer both on international and domestic levels. He has been a regular at the Olympic Games since the 1992 Barcelona meet, but has never won a medal.

His highlights include a silver medal in the 100-meter backstroke at the European Short-Course Championships in Lisbon in 1999 and a bronze medal in the 100-meter backstroke at both the World Short-Course Championships in Athens and the European Championships in Helsinki in 2000. He will swim in the 200-meter backstroke competition in London.

Büyükuncu is one of the six swimmers from Turkey to win qualification.

33 Turkish athletes on the road to London

Yesterday was the deadline for qualification for the London Olympics in track and field, and a record number of 33 Turkish athletes have booked their places in the competition.

Buoyed by the recent success in the European Championships in Helsinki, the Turkish Athletics Federation (TAF) hopes that London will be the most successful games for Turkish athletes.

TAF chair Mehmet Terzi said the number of athletes had more than doubled compared to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where seven of the total 16 athletes made it to the finals and clinched two silvers.
But unfortunately the winner of those two silver medals in the women’s 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter competitions, Ethiopian-origin Turkish runner Elvan Abeylegesse, will not compete in London after failing to win a berth in the Olympics.

Going into the Olympics, the hopes of medals will be high especially for women athletes. Nevin Yanıt, who successfully defended her 100-meter hurdles title in Helsinki, and Gülcan Mıngır, who won the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, will be among the favorites in the Games.

Aslı Çakır Alptekin and Gamze Bulut, who performed a one-two finish in the women’s 1500-meter final, hope to carry their form to London, while the women’s 4x400 relay team will want to make an impact in Turkey’s first-ever Olympic appearance in the event.