Parasports World talks to Gizem Girişmen (1)
Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Paralympic Gold Medallist, IPC Athlete's Council Member, Sports Advisor to the Turkish Ministry of Youth and Sports and PhD student. It's fair to say Gizem Girişmen has a busy schedule, so we're delighted she found time to speak to Parasports World about her career, the challenges facing the Para-Sport Movement and the power of Para-Sport. Check out Part 1 of our interview here...
First question, how retired are you?
Haha, I can say that for now I am really an ex-athlete but you know I’m an archer and I can come back! It’s possible for me and I don’t want to say it’s over but for now I don’t have enough time to be an athlete at the that level, which is a huge commitment in terms of training, but who knows, maybe I won’t be a retired athlete at some point again in my life.
So, without training how do you divide your time at the moment?
For now I’m working at the Ministry of Youth and Sports as a Sports Advisor, dealing with Paralympic Performance other than that I just started my PhD at Middle East Technical University in a Sports Management Programme. As an ex-athlete myself I really try to focus on giving the athletes as much support as possible, not just elite athletes but to create as many opportunities for newcomers as well.
How was sport and ultimately Archery introduced to your life?
Sport has been a part of my life forever, so long that I can’t remember when it started but it was before my accident. I had a car accident at the age of 11 and before that I was figure skating, skiing and swimming and afterwards I kept up the swimming, which I enjoyed a lot, but it was just a hobby.
When I graduated from University I decided to start swimming again and I was trying to get in touch with my swimming coach. This was when I was invited to try archery, and to be honest I was too impolite to say no! I said I would give it a try but really I had no interest in Archery, I was just being polite!
So I went to the training centre, and for my first shot I completely missed the target, from a very close distance. It’s actually quite hard to do that. But something attracted me to Archery, and I think it was really the philosophy of the sport, which coincides with my own philosophy in life.
When you say Archery reflected your own outlook on life, what do you mean by that?
In Archery you need balance, and in life I think there should be a balance as well, because as a person I’m really happy when I balance the things that I get from life with the things that I am able to give to other people. In Archery you literally need to find the balance between pulling the bow and pushing the bow; I was very lucky as an athlete and a person and I want to show people that if they set goals and objectives that they can reach them, so I try to find the balance in my life as I do with Archery.
From your sporting career, what is your highlight?
Well, most people think that the biggest success of my sporting career is my Paralympic Gold Medal, but actually for me it wasn’t. The highlight of my career for me personally was when I received a call, from somebody who had read a newspaper article about me and she wanted to get involved in Archery. She had already asked other people if she could get involved and the answer was always ‘no’.
I was on an Archery training camp at the time so I invited her to come along. She came, she talked to our trainer, who was the national coach. She was motivated but didn’t think she had a chance to become a Paralympian. But with a little encouragement she decided to go away and train and within two years she made the National Team. That person was Özlem Kalay, who went on to represent Turkey in the 2012 Paralympics and won bronze at the 2014 European Championships. Being a part of bringing her to the sport is the highlight of my career.
- END OF PART ONE -
MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT PART 2 WHICH WILL BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK!!!
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