World champ retires from taekwondo at 26
Turkish taekwondo world champion İrem Yaman has announced an unexpectedly shocking decision of her retirement at just 26 years of age.
Two times world and five times European champion Yaman made the statement in a social media post.
“Everything started 16 years ago with a dream. During my first fight, I believed that I was going to be a world champion,” Yaman said, thanking her family for their support at the beginning of her “resignation letter.”
“In 10 years, I cried a lot, got upset, was defeated and lost weight. But I never gave up. Despite everyone and everything, I won,” she said. “Now it is time to bid farewell to this beloved sport.”
“I know that every end is a new beginning,” she concluded.
The resignation post shocked prominent figures of Turkish taekwondo, and her “Good people will always win” statement was considered a “reproach.”
Yaman has bagged gold medals in the women’s 62 kg category in 2015 and 2019 World Championships in Russia and the United Kingdom. She is the first female Turkish athlete to win gold twice in taekwondo.
Yaman could not attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the Turkish Taekwondo Federation kept her out of the quota with a surprising decision.
The federation sent Hatice Kübra İlgün instead of Yaman to Tokyo. Turkish sports media hinted that Yaman “was heartbroken.”