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BOYACI Sümeyye
Sport Para swimming
NPC Türkiye   
GenderWomen
Age19
Place of BirthEskisehir, TUR
Height1.58 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S5, SB6, SM5
Further Personal Information
Residence
Eskisehir, TUR
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Turkish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming in 2008 in Eskisehir, Turkey.
Why this sport?
She became interested in the sport after watching fish swim in an aquarium and noticing they did not have arms, like her. Her mother then encouraged her to pursue the sport. "Swimming is my everything. It is great therapy for me. In the water, I feel freer than anywhere else."
Club / Team
Eskisehir Buyuksehir Belediyesi: Turkey
Name of coach
Mehmet Bayrak, TUR; Caglar Alsan, TUR
Senior International Debut
Year
2016
Competing for
Turkey
General Interest
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Instagram profile, 22 Aug 2021)
Most influential person in career
Her family. (ntv.com.tr, 09 Mar 2020)
Hero / Idol
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi. (Athlete, 15 Aug 2018, 12 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Throughout my professional sports career, I have never fit in the mould. I did not hesitate to be myself. I didn't stop being original. Neither yesterday, nor today, nor tomorrow." (Instagram profile, 25 Feb 2022)
Awards and honours
In 2020 she was named Paralympic Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year at the Milliyet Athlete of the Year Awards in Turkey. (aa.com.tr, 16 Nov 2020)

In 2018 she received the Republican Gold medal from the mayor of the city of Eskisehir in Turkey. The honour was in recognition of her performance at the 2018 World Series event in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (istekadinlar.com, 19 Aug 2018)
Milestones
She became the first female Turkish Para swimmer to win at least a silver medal at the world championships, when she claimed silver in the S5 50m backstroke at the 2019 edition in London, England. (SportsDeskOnline, 27 Oct 2020; onedio.com, 15 Sep 2019)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 World Championships in Madeira, Portugal, and at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris. (Instagram profile, 02 Apr 2022, 26 Mar 2022)
Impairment
She was born without arms [bilateral congenital upper extremity agenesis] and with a hip dislocation. (Athlete, 15 Aug 2018, 12 Sep 2019)
Other information
POST-TOKYO FOCUS
Despite swimming a new national record in qualifying in the S5 50m backstroke at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, she finished fourth in the final and missed out on a medal. She says she used the disappointment as motivation to focus on training after the Games. "I narrowly missed the medal because I couldn't show the same performance in the final. But instead of regretting the medal, I used this six-month training period, which I started immediately after Tokyo, and continued without interruption. This was a strong source of motivation." (Instagram profile, 07 Feb 2022)

FEET DEXTERITY
Born without arms, she has developed the dexterity in her feet to the point where she is able to create art, cook and design fashion. She began painting with her feet at age four and then took up paper marbling in primary school. Her watercolour and paper marbling artwork has been featured in a number of exhibitions around the world. "I drew my first rose when I was four years old. My mother had to believe [it was] me because there wasn't anyone else at home. My mother joked, 'If there was someone else at home, they wouldn't believe that you did it'. Then I improved my painting ability. I exhibited the marbling that I made years ago in Moscow [in 2019]. People can actually do anything that they want. There is nothing they cannot do if they have an impairment. The important thing is to be happy. Having an impairment does not stop me from doing anything. In my free time I design clothes. I do not just do the drawing but I sew the dresses too. I started sewing the clothes I designed with a sewing machine, but I can also sew using my feet without using a machine." (Instagram profile, 08 Oct 2019; alansavunmasi.org, 08 Oct 2019; memurlar.net, 20 Sep 2019; istekadinlar.com, 19 Aug 2018; onedio.com, 30 Apr 2018)

BARBIE DOLL
In 2020 toy company Mattel produced a Barbie doll depicting the likeness of Boyaci. The doll has no arms and features wings painted across her torso, and was produced as part of the company's new line of dolls honouring female athletes, which were released on International Women's Day on 08 March 2020. "This was something I couldn't imagine until I was told. I couldn't believe it when I first heard it, I wanted to scream. I will never forget my feelings at the moment. A Barbie without arms has never been produced until now, I was the first. A Barbie was released of me without arms, but with wings. I have invisible wings. One is my joy and determination for life, the other is my family's support for me. So two wings." (anadolugazetesi.com, 04 Mar 2020; ntv.com.tr, 09 Mar 2020)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
7 2021 200m Freestyle S5 3:17.23
14 2021 100m Freestyle S5 1:39.41
7 2021 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 20 Points 2:42.43
9 2021 50m Butterfly S5 49.12
4 2021 50m Backstroke S5 43.94
World Championships (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
6 2017 50m Butterfly S5 50.99
4 2017 50m Backstroke S5 46.57
7 2017 50m Freestyle S5 47.85
7 2017 200m Freestyle S5 3:58.38
Heats 2019 50m Freestyle S5 43.31
Heats 2019 4 x 50m Medley Relay 20 Points  
8 2019 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 20 Points 2:50.62
6 2019 50m Butterfly S5 47.85
2 2019 50m Backstroke S5  
Heats 2019 100m Freestyle S5 1:42.66
5 2022 50m Freestyle S5 44.70
1 2022 50m Backstroke S5 41.58
Heats 2022 50m Butterfly S5  DSQ
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
6 2018 200m Freestyle S5 3:45.50
1 2018 50m Backstroke S5 45.21
6 2018 50m Freestyle S5 47.52
8 2018 100m Freestyle S5 1:59.06
4 2018 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 20 Points 2:53.41
3 2018 50m Butterfly S5 48.90 
4 2021 50m Freestyle S5 44.10
  2021 50m Backstroke S5  DSQ
4 2021 50m Butterfly S5 48.32
5 2021 4 x 50m Freestyle Relay 20 Points 2:47.60
3 2021 200m Freestyle S5 3:22.48
2 2021 100m Freestyle S5 1:34.24