Volume 16, Number 8
November 10, 2009

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This Week

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Sport: Success Stories and Quotes from Student Athletes

fatihSüleyman Cihan Erkan (BIM/IV) juggles two lives: those of a professional sailor and university student. On top of all that, he tries to maintain a social life. In this interview, he talks about the adventures that he's had out on the water and his future plans concerning education and sports.

How did you first encounter sports? Did anybody inspire you to get involved with sailing? Tell us about your sports career since then.
My father was always interested in the sea, and when I was 12 years old, I started sailing in the İstanbul Yelken Kulübü, with support from my mother. In no time, I was invited to join the team. I had many local and international achievements including the silver medal in IRC1, silver and bronze medals in IRC2 and the 8th degree in the European championship. At the moment, I am competing for one of the most well-known sailing clubs in Turkey. I'm really proud to be a part of this organization. 

cihan_erkanWhat are the difficulties of being an active athlete while studying in Bilkent University?
First of all, I always live with my luggage due to an intensive travel program during the sailing season. It's also hard to concentrate on academic life while at the same time having exhausting training sessions and competitions. Additionally, I had a serious injury a long time ago, and now I try to be more careful to avoid anything that may get in the way of competing. I also realize there are many benefits to being an athlete, because whenever I have any problems in my life, sailing has always helped me to refresh my self-confidence. 

You said that you can never give up your social interests. Please tell us about your hobbies and future dreams.
Even while I juggle sailing and school, I have some indispensable routines and hobbies. Having time with my family is also one of my greatest priorities. I am also interested in other branches of sports such as horse riding and diving. These are the easiest escapes for me to get rid of stress. In the future, I may continue to compete for my team after I graduate, but since childhood, I have been dreaming of sailing in Miami, which is the epicenter of this profession.

Do you have any interesting memories you'd like to share?
I remember once we were in the sea during a competition. One of my team mates suddenly said, ''Hey look! There's a pod of dolphins over there!" We suddenly stood up and looked there, then realized that they were actually the other members of our team. Later we learned that their boat had been turned over, and they had all fallen into the water. Somehow they still ended up winning that competition in anyway!

cihan erkanLastly, what are some important things to know about sailing?
When you are in the sea, as you can guess, the conditions can change at any moment. For this reason, you have to be able to adapt to the new conditions. You cannot step back. You always have to go forward. You should try every method to be successful. This is exactly like real life, isn't it?


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