Gökhan Seven is an impaired national athlete who has won five world, seven European and two Asian championships. The 40-year-old, who lost the ability to walk due to an inflammatory disease at an early age, made his mark by succeeding in various sports fields, particularly arm wrestling.
After discovering arm wrestling by chance when he went on vacation to Yalova from his hometown Erzurum province 12 years ago, he decided to move and start competing for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club.
Seven's first international success was in the World Championships in the U.S. in 2010. Winning five world, seven European and two Asian championships and successes in Turkey later, he has never been defeated by anyone in his weight in national and international championships for seven years.
Seven exerices six days a week to defeat his rivals.
This year, the World Arm Wrestling Championship takes place in Antalya province in October. The national sportsman wants to crown his success by winning the gold medal in both the right and left hand categories in this competition. He also wants to raise the Turkish flag at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, representing Turkey and Erzurum.
'I started arm wrestling by chance'
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Gökhan Seven said that he lost the ability to walk because of an inflammatory disease in his childhood and continued his life in a wheelchair. He said he won second at a tournament in arm wrestling for the first time in 2006 and "for nearly seven years, no one in my weight class have been able to defeat me."
"I want to continue in this sport and represent our country in the best way," he added.
Seven won the gold medal at this year's European Arm Wrestling Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, his seventh time winning the European championship.
"I had my name written among the undefeated. The stress and responsibility of this is actually heavy. This situation makes me a little bit nervous when I go to matches because the expectation of 80 million Turkish people is the gold medal. This is why I try to win every competition for my country," he said afterward. Now, he is preparing for the World Arm Wrestling Championship.
'Tokyo, the new target of national athlete'
Seven says that he is working hard for the World Championship in Antalya.
"My biggest aim is to have the Turkish National Anthem played and to win the gold medal at the upcoming 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo," he said.
Since impaired people can face various problems in life, Seven indicated that they must work hard, turning these problems into advantages. He highlighted that he has never given up sports.
"I have never been weary of life and never been afraid of it. I opened a gym to raise sportsmen. I regularly exercise there. For all impaired people, there is a proper sports field. I recommend they do sports instead of being stuck in their homes. I have had no rival strong enough to defeat me for nearly seven years. My claim still continues. My rivals can be strong. However, this doesn't scare me. I regularly exercise six days a week to defeat them," he said. He added that that if impaired people have support, they can raise the Turkish flag in every competition. He said that he also challenges healthy people of the same weight and height in arm wrestling. In conclusion, he thanked the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club, the Erzurum City Council Presidency and the authorities of the Council of Impaired People.