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    Disabled athletes compete

    Anatolia News Agency
    02.07.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ANTALYA - Seven Turkish athletes with mental disabilities swam in a 6.5-kilometer open sea swimming competition for the first time Wednesday in Antalya.

    The Third Süleyman Erol Swimming Marathon was held to mark the Maritime and Cabotage Day with the support of the Konyaaltı Municipality, the Olympos Rotary Club and the Turkish Chamber of Shipping.

    More than 70 swimmers competed in the race that started at Mermerli Beach, and seven swimmers from the Turkish Special Athletes Federation competed in a special category. Each of the seven participants was awarded a medal by Konyaaltı Mayor Muhittin Böcek.

    Ömer Demirseçer, winner of the special category, told reporters that it was the first time he swam such a long distance in the open sea. "There was not much pressure on me," he said. "I’m very happy that such an event was organized. We can overcome every challenge; we are strong enough to do that." Trainer Ercüment Kantaş noted that the swimmers with mental disabilities trained for more than a week for the competition. Some swimmers were tired during the race, Kantaş said.

    Twenty-four of the other swimmers competed in a 6.5-kilometer course while 48 vied for the title in a 10.5-kilometer course. Özge Tuğba Ay finished first in the 6.5-kilometer race’s women’s category, while Elif Toprak was the runner-up and Öykü Şioğlu came third. In the men’s category, Deniz Palalar clinched first place, Umut Atalman was second, and Dursun Ozan Özkoy finished third.

    The winner in the women’s category of the 10.5-kilometer race was Sanem Çetin, and she was followed by Begüm Sarıahmetoğlu and Begüm Özaltın, respectively.
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