'Golden' women of Turkish sports

'Golden' women of Turkish sports

Turkish female athletes secure gold medals in several disciplines including latest success in women's volleyball

By Halil Ibrahim Avsar

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish women are leaving their marks on sports with their successes in international competitions as the country's volleyball team, known as "the Sultans of the Net," has recently won the FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League.

On Sunday, Türkiye beat China 3-1 to be crowned the 2023 world champions for the first time.

The Turkish women's volleyball team won the final with the sets of 25-22, 22-25, 25-19, and 25-16 in Arlington in the US state of Texas.

Türkiye topped the world ranking in volleyball after their victory.

They are a source of pride for the country but not the sole Turkish athletes to have won gold medals in international competitions or the Olympics.

Throughout the sports history, Turkish women secured many gold medals in several disciplines such as weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, and taekwondo.

- Olympic gold medalists: Taylan in 2004, Surmeneli in 2020

Nurcan Taylan, a former Turkish weightlifter, won her nation's first Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Another Turkish athlete, Busenaz Surmeneli, 25, who is an active boxer, bagged a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held in 2021 summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is another important victory for the country.

It was also Türkiye's first Olympic gold in boxing.

- Female wrestling's pioneer Yasemin Adar Yigit

Yasemin Adar Yigit, 31, a Turkish female freestyle wrestler, also made history for her nation as she is a multi-time world champion and an Olympic bronze medalist.

Yigit won the 2016 European title in Latvia's Riga, which was Türkiye's first gold in a women's European championship.

Then she carried on winning gold medals to be a European champion for six times, and world titles twice at 2017 World Wrestling Championships in Paris and 2022 World Wrestling Championships in Belgrade.

She took a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

- World champions in Taekwondo

Nur Tatar, Zeliha Agris and Irem Yaman were the Turkish athletes to have won world titles at least once in their careers each.

Tatar, 30, won the world title at the 2017 World Wrestling Championship in Muju, South Korea.

She is the only Turkish women to have won Olympic medals in two different editions – silver at London 2012, and bronze at Rio 2016.

Agris has drawn attention after winning a gold medal in Muju 2017 while she was 19.

In addition to the world title, Agris, 25, won the 2022 European Taekwondo Championships in Manchester.

Yaman, 27, a former taekwondo athlete, was a two-time world champion as she sealed gold medals in 2015 and 2019.

In 2021, she retired from taekwondo.

Before her retirement, Yaman won the 2018 World Taekwondo Federation Sportswoman of the Year award.

- Buyukakcay, Soylu win historic titles in women's tennis

Turkish tennis player Cagla Buyukakcay was victorious in the 2016 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup, a historic championship for her.

Buyukakcay, 33, beat her Montenegrin opponent Danka Kovinic in 2016 to be the first Turkish tennis player to have won a Women's Tennis Association title.

Ipek Soylu, 27, another tennis player, won the 2014 US Open junior girls' doubles title when she partnered Jil Belen Teichmann of Switzerland.

Soylu and Teichmann defeated Vera Lapko of Belarus and Teresa Mihalikova of Slovakia to be the 2014 US Open champions at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

- Paralympic Games champions

Gizem Girismen (archery) and Nazmiye Muratli (powerlifting) secured gold medals in Paralympic Games for Türkiye.

Girismen secured a gold at Beijing 2008 to go down history books of the Turkish sports.

She became the first Turkish female paralympic athlete to have bagged a gold medal.

Muratli won Paralympic gold medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 in powerlifting.

The Turkish women's national goalball team won gold medals at 2016 and 2020 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo to leave their marks on the sporting discipline.

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