Young Iranian fencer pursuing Olympic dreams in Turkey
A 14-year old Iranian fencer Taranom Mohseni Tavakoli has decided to stay in Turkey to pursue her dream of competing in the Olympics, as it was difficult for her to build a career in this sport back home.
She eventually had to quit fencing in Iran, but an opportunity emerged for Taranom to fulfill her ambitions when the Tavakoli family paid a visit to Turkey.
She and her family came to Turkey to see her grandfather, who has been living in the western Turkish province of Manisa for eight years. And that visit apparently marked a turning point in her life.
Once in Turkey, Taranom started to inquire about how fencing is practiced in the country.
After getting in touch and conversing with a local coach, she and her parents decided to stay in Turkey to help Taranom chase her dreams.
Her parents are now seeking to obtain Turkish citizenship.
Hamed Mohseni Tavakoli, her father who is 43 and owned a chocolate factory back in Iran, and Mahsa Tavakoli, her mother who is 35, said Taranom started fencing at a very young age, inspired by the Zorro movies.
New episode in Taranom’s life
She was already a successful athlete in Iran, where she won medals, but Taranom did not see any future for herself as a fencer there, and finally, she quit fencing.
Things, however, started to change after the family arrived in Turkey.
Once they were in Manisa, Taranom contacted İpek İrem Ülkü, a fencing trainer, on social media and soon after she began training sessions with her.
Tavakoli says she wants to represent Turkey in the Olympics as a Turkish citizen.
“I am aiming high; I want to be number one in fencing. From now on, I want to compete for Turkey, which I love so much.”
Taranom and her family reached out to her a couple of weeks ago, Ülkü said.
“Taranom told me that she won medals in Iran, and she wants to continue doing this sport. Later, her grandfather arranged a meeting, and I met her in person,” Ülkü recalled, noting that she adapted quickly and became friends with other girl fencers. “We are a family, and Taranom has become one of us.”
“The Turkish Fencing Federation will hold a competition in May. If she obtains permission, Taranom will compete in this tournament as part of the girls’ team from Manisa,” Ülkü said.