Young Turkish record-breaker eyes Paris Olympics
Pınar Tahirler – ISTANBUL
An 18-year-old Turkish swimmer, who has broken some 32 records and bagged some 170 medals in his career, is now eyeing to achieve success at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
“At every race, I add something more to my performance. Now I have two targets to attend, world championships and 2024 Paris Summer Olympics,” said Berke Saka, who studies industrial engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S.
Thanking his family, who resides in Turkey now, for supporting him from the beginning, he said his swimming career started in kindergarten.
“When I was at the primary school, I was transferred to Galatasaray Sports Club. Today I compete for Galatasaray and Georgia University at the same time,” he added.
When asked how he achieved so much success, the national athlete stressed, “Hard work.”
“[In Istanbul] I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for swimming training. At 8:30, I was at school. After school, between 5 and 6 p.m. I was at the pool again,” he said, adding that by 9 in the evening he used to get home, and after a quick dinner, he used to finish his homework and get to sleep.
Saka was one of the swimmers of a Turkish team who broke grounds in Brasil and became the world champions in the World Lycee Swimming Champions in Rio de Janeiro two years ago.
He also carried the Turkish flag in the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. “It was my childhood dream to participate in the Olympics,” he said proudly, reminding his passion for competing in Paris.