details of interview

Role of the Interviewed: professional swimmer

Age: 65

Gender: female

Nationality: Turkish

Type of radicalization: gender

Historical period collocation: between 1965 and the first half of the 80’s

Date/Country of the Interview: 04/12/2018, Turkiye

Interviewer: Hacettepe University

Hacettepe University

Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)

details of interview

I’m 63 years old now. I started doing sports, in 1965. Especially in those years, I had a lot of experience about gender and inequality of opportunity. I never asked myself why this happens at those times.
Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started?
I have a brother. He is two years bigger than me. It was a great chance to be a child of an educated family in those years. But, in some issues, priority was given to my brother all the time. I loved sports and cycling. The first bike was bought to my brother. If he allowed me to use, I was using his bike. It was purchased to me when I was in 10th grade because I insisted on too much for a bike. I wanted to go the course to learn how to swim, but my family did not allow me, but my brother attended that course.
My parent let me go to the swimming course one year later. I was seven at the time. When I learned how to swim, I decided to be a professional swimmer. To become a swimmer, my family mostly my dad supported me. On the other hand, our neighbors and relatives didn’t want me to become a swimmer, and also they tried to affect my family especially my mom. At that time some people believe, if a women do the sport, she never has a baby, and she didn’t get married. According to them, the girls didn’t need to go to the other cities with a male coach for the competition. My mom got affected by others and wanted me to quit professional swimming, but my dad was always behind me.
How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?
I was participating in the swimming competition. Especially at that time, no other girl was swimming a marathon. At that time swimming competitions were doing in one classification, and there were no other classifications for girls. That’s why I wasn’t part of the top three, and I didn’t get any medals. I wanted to get a medal so hard, and I was working hard for it. At the beginning of the 1980s, in a Swimming Marathon (15 kilometers), I competed against the boys, and I finished the swimming marathon in the first place. A was so happy because I was going to get the gold medal. Finally, my efforts were rewarded. But I was shocked as soon as I heard the announcement at the award ceremony. Even though I finished the race in the first place, I wasn’t in the first place. There were the boys in the top three. According to my own experiences, radicalization is the decision of others to decide whether I deserve anything or not.
Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved?
I asked why didn’t I got the gold medal, and they said that the competition was between boys. This situation explained that I swam for nothing. Even though the competition was the official race which organized by swimming federation. Like everyone, I applied to the competition as a licensed swimmer and my application was accepted. The national newspapers wrote every day that I was wronged and that I could not get the trophy. So 15 days later, the swimming federation announced that I was the winner at that swimming marathon.
Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?
For years, I’ve been subjected to similar gender discrimination. I always had to fight to get the things I deserved.
End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?
In those years, I never questioned why this happened, and I couldn’t even realize that gender discrimination was made.
win also gender discrimination