However, first our women’s national volleyball team and then our women’s national basketball team shook this image. (One of their common features was that Olympic eliminations for both teams were held in Ankara. Hosting such events is completely the result of the federation presidents’ successful campaigning.)
Let’s start with our volleyball players. Our volleyball players achieved places in the Olympics by beating Bulgaria, Croatia, Russia, Germany and Poland in elimination matches in Ankara. What’s more, they succeeded by playing very aggressively, serving the ball well, blocking the ball perfectly and pushing hard till the end of the match.
In the Olympics we are in a relatively challenging group. In our group are Brazil, the US, China, Serbia and South Korea. Whoever achieves a place among the first four teams will gain the right to play in the quarterfinals. If our team can focus on each match separately and become motivated, it may even earn a place among the top two. The teams in the opposite group are Great Britain, Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Russia, Italy and Japan. This group is less challenging and we will have a chance whichever team we are matched with in the quarterfinals provided that we believe we will win.
I believe we can even play in the finals after good physical and mental preparation as long as we deal with each match separately in the tournament.
Let’s not forget that just competing in the Olympics is a great success. I would like to congratulate Federation President Erol Ünal Karabıyık, Trainer Marco Aurelio Motta and his players (Esra Gümüş, Gülden Kayalar Kuzubaşıoğlu, Gizem Güresen, Polen Uslupehlivan, Büşra Cansu, Bahar Toksoy, Özge Kırdar Çemberci, Gözde Sonsırma, Naz Aydemir, Neriman Özsoy, Eda Erdem Dündar and Neslihan Darnel) who enabled us to enjoy this success.
Queens of basketball
Another national team has made it to the Olympics: the women’s national basketball team. After being the runner-up in Europe last year, they achieved a place in the Olympics as a result of the eliminations held in Ankara, where they beat Puerto Rico, Japan and Argentina. They played in these matches by being aware that each pass was precious. They used the highest level of pressure. While using offensive set-ups skillfully, we managed the matches to score points easily. We, as a country, should thank Federation President Turgay Demirel, Coach Ceyhun Yıldızoğlu and players Birsel Vardarlı, Esmeral Tunçluer, Şaziye İvegin, Nevriye Yılmaz, Quaintra Hollingsworth, Bahar Çağlar, Tuğba Palazoğlu, Işıl Alben, Tuğçe Canıtez, Begüm Dalgalar, Nilay Kartaltepe and Yasemin Horasan, who enabled us to experience this pride.
About what we can achieve in the Olympics, consider that in our group are the US, China, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Angola. We may make it to the top two in our group if we don’t have any confidence problems. We don’t have many problems in technical terms, in offense or defense. We must just focus on what we can do.
The rivals in the other group are: Russia, Australia, Canada, France, Great Britain and Brazil. Whichever team we are matched with, we have a chance as long as we can do what’s right. For me, the bar for both of our teams is set as high as the finals.
In comparison to our teams’ achievements (even if they can’t be successful in the Olympics), “even a rainbow would only seem like a charcoal drawing” (a rainbow would pale beside our teams’ success). We will see what will happen soon.