Turkish paralympic swimmer Sumeyye Boyaci told Anadolu Agency she was happy to be awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Paralympic Athlete of the Year earlier this month.

Boyaci, 17, won the honors at the Gillette Milliyet Athlete of the Year awards.

“I received not only one but two awards this year. As athletes, we receive medals and awards but it is more important to inspire people and be an idol for them,” she said.

She is proud to be the first Turk to win a medal in swimming, placing second at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships.

But Boyaci is not satisfied. The silver will only fuel her drive to continue to work with greater determination and motivation as she prepares for the Tokyo Games.

“We had the opportunity to work more and longer for the Olympics, which was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Our country has never won any medals in swimming at the Olympics. I want to be the first athlete to achieve this,” said the ambitious teen.

Boyaci said competing in the Olympics is the dream of every athlete and it is a great pleasure to prepare to make her dream a reality.

She focused on mental and physical training earlier this year when Turkey went into lockdown because of the coronavirus.

“I did dryland training and focused on mental training. I worked at home. I researched swimming and athlete health,” she said.

*Writing by Muhammed Enes Calli in Ankara

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