Speed skater aspires to pioneer youth sports in Turkey via Beijing Winter Olympics
Published: Jan 23, 2022 07:01 PM
"I couldn't help but cry for a while," Furkan Akar, a 19-year-old Turkish athlete, talked about his feelings when he finally earned his qualification to represent his country in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.    

"A miracle happened... I had one last race left, one last hope. We set the tactics with my trainer and got the quota," the young man said, referring to the Short Track Speed Skating World Cup held in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, in November last year.    

"It will be my first time to compete at such a big event in Beijing, the Olympic Games, the summit of athletes," Akar told Xinhua in an online interview.    

In Turkey, short-track speed skating used not to be very popular, but it is gradually getting recognized, especially among young people.    

Akar believes that his Olympic journey will help attract more Turks to this sport. Actually more and more people have already contacted him and asked about his competition event.    

"I am leading the way in this sport. Even if time passes and I quit this sport one day, my name will remain. I am happy about that," he told Xinhua.    

Ugur Erdener, a member of the International Olympic Committee and president of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, said Turkey would participate with a small team of seven athletes.    

"The Olympic Games are a very different experience. The best will be there, and it is very important" for the Turkish athletes to face their toughest opponents, he added.    

Akar's most challenging rivals in Beijing will be the South Korean and Chinese athletes. "They are better than us," the young athlete confessed.    

Akar said his excitement and stress for the games grow with each passing day, but he believed that he will overcome all these when he gets on the ice and starts skating.