News and Media


The healing power of sport

Less than two months after the terrible tragedy that affected the country, Turkey is determined to show in Durres (ALB) that whatever catastrophic the circumstances may be, there is always room for hope. At the end of the sixth day of competition at the IWF World Youth Championships, the Turkish delegation has already 14 medals – five gold, five silver, and four bronze – and is placed fourth so far in the medal chart of the event.


The most recent protagonist of this success story was Baki Sami Kiymet, winner of the men’s 96kg, with a personal best of 145-180-325. His supremacy during the final was never questioned and his closest competitor was Italy’s Simone Abati, finishing in 317kg (144+173).


Still 16 (he will celebrate his 17th anniversary next June 28), Kiymet was visibly a happy man after the medal ceremony. After six years in the sport – thanks to the influence of his grandfather, himself a weightlifting coach -, the new world youth champion declared that his victory was not “planned before coming to Albania”. However, he quickly adds: “It is a nice contribution to Turkey’s overall number of medals. I worked very hard to get these results, and in the end, the effort paid off”.


Training six days a week (with double sessions every day), Kiymet comes from Konya, a city in central Turkey. When asked about the consequences of the earthquake on a personal, and on a sport level, the 16-year-old explains: “Fortunately, my city is far from the epicentre of the tragedy. I didn’t have any personal problem with a family member or friend. However, the entire country felt this was an enormous tragedy. For me, it was the saddest thing I lived in my life and it obviously had consequences in terms of the sport. If affected all activities in Turkey”.


Kiymet then rebounds on the power of sport in situations as the Turkish nation lived. “To continue training and practicing weightlifting was the best possible ‘therapy’ to forget for a while what was happening. We are all very proud of the courage of our citizens to deal with such a drama, but for us, athletes, sport is also a way to heal wounds. I am very lucky to have weightlifting!”


Turkish talent’s next rendezvous will be the European Youth Championships, a competition in which he already won medals in the past. The long-term objective is, of course, the participation in the Olympic Games.


With two days to go before the conclusion of these Championships, Turkey has still good chances to win medals, in both the women’s 81kg and +81kg, respectively with Busra Can (best entry total of 224kg) and Tuana Suren (also the strongest on the entry list, at 240kg).


By Pedro Adrega, IWF Communications