Double-amputee swimmer Sümeyye Boyacı aims to outdo herself with Olympic gold as she trains for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The 16-year-old athlete who took to swimming at the age of 5, has won both European and world championships in her fledgling career and now has her eyes on the first gold at the Olympics in backstroke swimming.
Boyacı was born in the western city of Eskişehir, with a dislocated hip bone and without any arms. She made a name for herself by winning the European championship in Dublin in the women's 50-meter backstroke with a race time of 45.21 seconds. She went on to win the world title in backstroke at the Open Water Paralympic Swimming Championship in Brazil with an impressive time of 45.92 seconds. Since then, she has never looked back and is now training six days a week to qualify for the Olympics, ahead of qualifiers in Belarus and the United States.
"I have a tough training session here, but I want to get another win in the next world championship and later, in the Olympics. I have only one year left and I feel excited. It is this excitement that I feel in every race that helps me succeed," she told Demirören News Agency (DHA). One thing she complains about is the lack of support for swimmers in a country where the most beloved sport is football. "There should be more investment in swimming. The budget of our swimming federation, for instance, is almost half of what a footballer earns for a season," she says.