Turkish athlete rounding into form for games

Turkish athlete rounding into form for games

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish athlete rounding into form for games

Turkish sprinter Nevin Yanıt (C) is one of the top performers in women’s 100-meter hurdles this year. The 26-year-old has renewed the national record just three weeks after successfully defending her European title. AA photo

Turkish sprinter Nevin Yanıt showed she is in good form before the 2012 London Olympics as she renewed the 100-meter hurdles national record July 22.

Racing at the Balkans Athletics Championships in the northwestern Turkish province of Turkey, Yanıt set the record with 12.61 seconds, and came closer to the 12.59 mark, which she is targeting at the Olympics.

The previous Turkish record of 12.63 also belonged to Yanıt.

“That is a good time,” she said to Anatolia news agency. “This is a huge morale boost before the Olympics.”

Yanıt said that this performance would be enough for running the 100-meter hurdles final in London and “will do her best in the final.”

The 26-year-old successfully defended her European title in Helsinki last month, but she did not break a record there.

“It was cold weather and I did not run for a record, I just had defending my title on my mind,” she said. “Now, renewing my national record here gave me hope.”

Yanıt might be a contender in the 110-meter finals in London, but she will face a highly competitive group of athletes, including world champion and Olympic favorite Sally Pearson and Americans Kellie Wells and Ginnie Crawford.

Tough competition
Yanıt passed Wells’ running in 12.73 and came second after Crawford, who won at 12.61 in a meet in Lucerne last week. Pearson did not compete in the event.

Yanıt’s coach Cüneyt Yüksel said that the athlete is ready for the London Games. “After Lucerne and here, everything is fine now,” the coach said. “We still have minor adjustments to make, but apart from that, we are waiting for the races.”

Yanıt is Turkey’s biggest chance of running at a final in sprint events in London, but the national athletics squad hopes that it can bring medals in middle and long distances as well.

Turkey is going to London with 33 track and field athletes, more than the double the 16 athletes they brought in 2008, which was also a record.

Turkish Athletics Federation chief Mehmet Terzi said that the success in the number of participating athletes will translate to medal results.

“In the past, we earned one bronze medal from [triple jumper] Ruhi Sarıalp in 1948 London, one bronze from [hammer thrower] Eşref Apak in 2004 Athens and two silver medals from Elvan Abeylegesse [in 5,000 and 10,000 medals] in 2008 Beijing,” Terzi said. “Now we are aiming to match that number in just one event.” Terzi said long-distance runners Aslı Çakır Alptekin, Gülcan Mıngır, İlham Tanui Özbilen, Tarık Langat Akdağ and Polat Kemboi Arıkan and javelin thrower Fatih Avan are candidates for bringing medals to Turkey.

Turkey loses to team US


Turkish national women’s basketball team suffered a 80-61 defeat to the United States in the final match before the London Olympic Game on July 22.

Seimone Augustus and Diana Taurasi each scored 16 points to lead the US to an 80-61 victory in the final tune-up before the Olympics start this weekend.

Quanitra Hollingsworth, an American player who will represent Turkey in the Olympics, had 16 points. Veteran center Nevriye Yılmaz was only the other Turkish player to score in double figures. Turkey will participate to the Olympics for the first time in women’s basketball.