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ILDEM Elif
Sport Para swimming
NPC Turkey   
GenderWomen
Age26
Place of BirthIstanbul, TUR
Height1.62 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Classification
S2, SB1, SM2
Further Personal Information
Residence
Istanbul, TUR
Occupation
Athlete, Psychologist
Languages
English, Turkish
Higher education
Psychology - Istanbul Bilgi University: Turkey
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She began Para swimming at age 20 at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club in Turkey.
Why this sport?
She took up the sport as part of her rehabilitation. "I had to swim on the recommendation of the doctor. 'You can come and swim in our club', my uncle said to me. Of course, at first, we were thinking more for rehabilitation, but when I entered the pool, my coaches always said to me, 'You swim very well, you have to participate in the races'. It was the first time that I met sport in a professional sense. It was a turning point in my life."
Club / Team
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi SK: Turkey
General Interest
Hobbies
Travelling, watching films, extreme sports, reading. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019; cumhuriyet.com.tr, 29 Dec 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2017 World Championships in Mexico City, Mexico. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Most influential person in career
Coach Mehmet Fatih Kurt. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017)
Hero / Idol
Turkish Greco-Roman wrestler Cenk Ildem. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Know me for my abilities, not my disability." [Robert M Hensel] (Instagram profile, 15 Oct 2020)
Famous relatives
Her uncle Dayim Huseyn has served as a wrestling coach at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club in Turkey. (elifildem.com, 14 Feb 2020)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (haberturk.com, 04 Sep 2020; cumhuriyet.com.tr, 29 Dec 2020)
Impairment
She has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease [CMT], which affects the peripheral nerves and causes muscle wasting and weakness. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017, 12 Sep 2019)
Other information
POSITIVE EFFECTS
She has spoken about the positive effect swimming has on her physical and mental condition. "Since I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and I am in a wheelchair, of course swimming has very positive effects. The most important thing is the psychological impact. My social life has become more diverse. I have started to look at life more positively. As I feel free in the water, it also reflects in the outside world. Although competing can cause performance anxiety and other stresses we experience in sports, I can say that swimming has reduced the anxiety that I experience in general daily life." (gazeteduvar.com.tr, 17 Dec 2019)

FURTHER EDUCATION
In 2019 she graduated with a master's degree in clinical psychology from Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. "I received training in the field of sports psychology. There are many physically impaired athletes in Turkey. I want to specialise in this field and help them. I try to combine my sports and academic career." (independentturkish.com, 16 Dec 2019; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020; cumhuriyet.com.tr, 29 Dec 2020)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
8 2021 100m Backstroke S2 3:13.39
15 2021 100m Freestyle S3 3:17.54
8 2021 50m Backstroke S2 1:32.49
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
7 2017 50m Backstroke S3 1:35.50
5 2019 100m Backstroke S2 3:22.52
5 2019 50m Backstroke S2 1:36.28
Heats 2019 100m Freestyle S3 3:18.59
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
6 2021 50m Backstroke S3 1:39.07
12 2021 50m Freestyle S4 1:38.99