Wheelchair fencer van Achterberg aims for Olympic gold for Turkey

Published 11.10.2017 13:14
Updated 11.10.2017 13:34
Elke Lale van Achterberg. (FILE Photo)
Elke Lale van Achterberg. (FILE Photo)

Turkey Wheelchair Fencing National Team athlete Elke Lale van Achterberg aims to represent Turkey with a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, a choice she said she made for her mother.

Van Achterberg, the 17-year-old daughter of a Turkish mother and a Dutch father, started using a wheelchair at age 11, after injuring her foot playing with her sister. Doctors thought the injury would heal, but when nerve damage became too painful, they had to amputate van Achterberg's left leg.

Soon after her injury, van Achterberg began wheelchair fencing for the Dutch Fencing Federation (KNAS), winning individual and team bronze medals at her first international championship in 2014.

In 2016, van Achterberg decided to compete for the Turkish National Team, training with Bursa's Nilüfer Municipality Wheelchair Fencing Team.

"I do not feel like I'm disabled. Disabled people can do anything," said van Achterberg.

Van Achterberg's future goals include representing Turkey in the 2020 Olympics.

"I want to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020 and wave the Turkish flag," the young athlete told Anadolu Agency.

"I chose the Turkish national team for my mother. I love Turkey very much," she added.

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