Weightlifters rue extreme pressure
LONDON - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s Mete Binay is disappointed after his failed lift in the men’s 69kg competition at the ExCel venue at the London Games. REUTERS photoTurkish weightlifters cited “extreme pressure” as the main reason for the nation’s flop in one of its Olympic strongholds. Turkey came to the Olympic Games with nine weightlifters, but failed to claim a single medal as the athletes competed in London.
Former European Champions Sibel Şimşek, Aylin Daşdelen, Bünyamin Sezer and Mete Binay were among the disappointing performers, while younger hopes Nurdan Karagöz and Bediha Tunadağı also failed to make it to the podium.
“I had winning on my mind, I was so determined to win that first medal for the country,” Şimşek, who competed in the women’s 63-kilogram, said to NTV Spor yesterday. “Maybe that was why I could not make it.” As the fifth day of the Olympic Games wrapped up Turkey was still without a medal. Going into the Olympics the country’s medal hopes were pinned mainly on wrestling and athletic events, but with those two events yet to start in London, weightlifting seemed Turkey’s best bet for its first medals.
“We all know that the country wants a gold medal from us, and that may have put us under extreme pressure,” Şimşek told state-run TRT television on July 31.
Karagöz was also among those at a loss to find reasons for the failure.
“I don’t know why I could not lift a weight that I could easily lift in training,” a teary-eyed Karagöz said after her session on July 29. “I wanted to win so much that it affected me negatively I think.”
After wrestling, weightlifting has historically been Turkey’s second-best sport in the Olympics, bringing the country 10 of its 82 Olympic medals. Historically the country also boasted Naim Süleymanoğlu and Halil Mutlu, two of the most successful weightlifters in the world.
“We were expecting three medals here, but the athletes did their best,” Mutlu said to NTV Spor yesterday. “The administrators promised the medals, putting [the athletes] under pressure. Such statements create high expectations and put the athletes under intense pressure. As Sibel Şimşek said, they were pressed under those expectations.”
Turkey to scout Turkic talent for 2016 Olympic Games
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan thinks Turkey should scout for talent in the Turkic countries, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.
Erdoğan made a phone call to Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç, who is currently in London, to say that Turkey should do better in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Turkey was still yet to win a medal in the Olympics after the fifth day of the Games was wrapped up.
“We should find and raise bright athletes in our country, but we should also look at neighboring Turkic countries,” Erdoğan reportedly said. “Take those young athletes, give then citizenship and send to the Olympics. We should do that planning early.”
In the 2008 Games, Chechen wrestler Ramazan Şahin and Ethiopian-born Elvan Abeylegesse won medals for Turkey.