World Bulletin / News Desk
Viktoria Zeynep Gunes, an 18-year-old swimmer who escaped Crimea in 2013 after the Russian occupation, will now represent Turkey at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Crimea was formally annexed by Moscow in March 2014 after an illegal independence vote on the heels of violent anti-government protests in the Ukrainian capital Kiev that led to the overthrow of its president.
Gunes, who is of Ukrainian descent, told Anadolu Agency she left Crimea after the occupation and obtained Turkish citizenship in 2014.
"The decision about arriving in Turkey was not easy but fortunately I did it. I feel more peaceful, happier and more valuable in Turkey. After coming to Turkey, we [she and her family] did not think about returning," she said.
Gunes has been representing an Istanbul-based club named ENKA Spor for the last two years, for which she won 11 medals at various events.
She made Turkish swimming history when she won four gold medals at the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore.
In the Swim Open Stockholm held in April 2016, Gunes won the gold medal in the 400-meter mixed competition and directly qualified for the Rio Olympics.
She is the first swimmer from Turkey to qualify directly for the Olympics after her success in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke, and 200-meter and 400-meter mixed categories.
The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21.Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2016, 10:36