Visually impaired sisters eye national team in swimming

Two 90 percent visually impaired sisters hailing from the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, are gearing up for national team selections following their impressive achievements in swimming, including their triumphs in Turkish championships.

Melise Akyol, 14, was born with a 90 percent visual impairment caused by weak eye vessels, while her 12-year-old sister Selime developed a similar impairment at the age of 3 due to a cross-eyed disorder.

In 2016, with the unwavering support of their family, the sisters embarked on swimming lessons, resulting in a remarkable collection of 36 medals in various competitions, with 24 first-place finishes.

Motivated by their outstanding performance in the Turkish Championship held in Istanbul two years ago, the sisters are now diligently preparing for the national team selections, eager to attain new heights in their careers.

Reflecting on her previous accomplishments, Melise stated, "In the Türkiye-wide swimming race held in Istanbul in 2021, I secured three first-place and three second-place finishes. My ultimate goal is to join the national team and represent Türkiye as a world champion."

While also preparing for the High School Entrance Exam (LGS), Melise revealed that they devote six days a week to their training regimen, exemplifying their commitment to excelling both academically and athletically.

Selime, for her part, expressed her aspirations, saying, "I want to join the national team, participate in the Olympics and proudly represent Türkiye by raising our flag high."

Their trainer, Esra Bilgin, has been with Melise and Selime since the inception of their swimming journey in 2016. Elaborating on their progress, Bilgin remarked, "When they first arrived, they were very...

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