Berkin Kutlu, an 11-year old boy with physical disabilities, overcame his fear of water and became Turkey's swimming champion, passing the threshold of qualifications set by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Kutlu, whose right arm and left leg are missing, has reportedly won 10 gold and 5 silver medals over the course of only two years. He told Anadolu Agency that his father and mother, as well as his swimming coaches Duran Arslan and Berna Bal had helped him overcome his fear of water.
Kutlu's doctors had initially recommended swimming to him in order to prevent deformation of his spinal cord, but he had been even afraid to enter the pool at first. He added that he was now practicing three hours per day and five days a week.
As Kutlu is still too young to participate in the Paralympics in Mexico, he will prepare for the Olympics, which are going to take place in 2020 in Japan's capital Tokyo.
Berkin said that he has chosen swimming as life-long occupation, and that his aim was to win a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paraympics. The young sports talent, who describes himself as very ambitious, says that he gets very excited during sports competitions: "While swimming, I focus on winning. Of course I am also very happy when I receive a medal. Swimming is a lot of fun. I can recommend it to everyone."