Modern Turkish Sports
Situated at the intersection of three continents, Turkey has always been the major site where both a variety of traditional and modern sports have developed. As the host of a variety of international sports organizations, Turkey promotes also the Anatolian culture by introducing its ancestral sports to the world. While successful Turkish athletes become well known all over the world, the emphasis given to the sport is growing every day.
Athleticism: Athleticism was introduced in Anatolia in the late 19th century. Nevertheless Turkey attracts attention for its athletes who have achieved great success nowadays. Many athletes who have represented our country at international competitions and won various degrees will represent also Istanbul, the candidate city for the Olympics 2020.
Since 1990, Turkish athletes began to achieve high ranks in competitions and upgraded their performance within time. Sureyya Ayhan who run the semi-finals at the Olympic Games in Sydney became European Champion later on. Elvan Abeylegesse is a holder of 5000 meters world record while many other athletes achieved high ranks in different branches. Moreover, Sultan Haydar won the gold medal at the European Cross Championships in 2009.
Football: Football is one of the most popular sports that attract large numers of audiences not only in the world but also in Turkey. Turkey has many stadiums upgraded with technical improvements every year in addition to football clubs that have achieved great success in the international arena and football leagues that have the most renowed players from Turkey and around the world.
In addition to the National Team which has played in the World Cup and European Championship finals, many Turkish Football Clubs have proved to be successful as well. Turkey has also achieved great success in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup as well as the world’s most important tournaments such as the Champions League and Europa League.
Basketball: In Turkey, especially young people tend to show great interest for basketball. World-famous basketball players play in Turkish basketball clubs which keep developing everyday and have achieved great success internationally. Turkey, with its diverse basketball leagues, continues to be one of the rising stars of basketball.
The men’s national basketball team nicknamed ‘’12 Dev Adam’’(12 Giant Men) and the women’s national basketball team called ‘’Potanın Perileri’’ (Fairies of Basket), have achieved great success at the Mediterranean Games, Eurobasket, World and European championships and continue to achieve greater victories every passing day.
Among the many professional basketball clubs of Turkey, Beşiktaş, Fenerbehçe and Galatasaray have achieved the greatest success. Beşiktaş Men’s Basketball Team has won the FIBA Euro Challenge, ULEB and Korac Cup, while Fenerbahce won the Turkish Airlines Euroleauge, EuroCup Challenge, Saporta and Koraç Cup and Galatasaray the ELB Eurocup and Euroleague Cup.
Volleyball: Volleyball is another popular sport in Turkey which has achieved great success in this branch. Voleyball was introduced by the beginning of the 20th century in Turkey which has won critical acclaim for its worldwide successful women’s league. Nowadays men’s volleyball teams are attracting the attention as well. The venue of many international organizations, Turkey increases its success in this branch every passing day.
Turkey has not only joined and hostet a variety of tournaments but also won the European Cup and proved the success of Turkish volleyball teams.
Motorsports: Motorsports which continue to evolve every year have also won the hearts of a great number of Turks. Turkey has hosted the Formula 1 Grand Prix and also attracted the attention for its successful motorsports athletes.
Kenan Sofuoğlu, the World Super Sport Champion, is the first name that comes to mind when talking of motorsports in Turkey. Motorsport activities continue to evolve in this country every single day.
Billiards: Billiards, the most common table sport in Turkey, is reaching a wider audience every other day. Turkey hosts international competitions and also receives attention for its famous billiard players.
Semih Saygıner, nicknamed as “Mr. Magic” is well known as former World Billiard Champion. Indeed, cue sports continue to evolve in Turkey with the increase in the number of new billiard athletes.
Swimming: It is no surprise that a country surrounded by seas on three sides should also have successful swimming athletes. Turkey has many talented swimming athletes who are copmpetitive not only in pool swimming but also in open water swimming tournaments.
National Team Swimmer and Turkey record holder Derya Büyükuncu is among the most successful Turkish athletes. Turkish athletes who have achieved great success on the level of team sports contribute to the development of this sport each passing day.
Diving: Turkey is among the geographical locations with the richest underwater diversity and is the center of both freediving and scuba diving. Turkey has many athletes who are world record holders in these branches.
Turkish athlete Yasemin Dalkılıç is the first name that comes to mind when famous Freediving World Record Holders are discussed. Famous for its underwater athletes and deep seas, Turkey continues to add to its success. Recently, Şahika Encümen broke the lake diving and open water freediving world record.