Golden Opportunity: Nurcan Taylan
Olympic Review continues its countdown to the 2012 Games with exclusive interviews with stars of the 26 sports on the programme, who are targeting gold in London. Nurcan Taylan, the Athens Olympic Champion, and current world champion, is determined to win back her title in London after missing out on the medals in Beijing.
In August 2016, Nurcan TAYLAN of Turkey, competing in the Women's 48kg Weightlifting event, in which she did not finish, has been disqualified from the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.
You have been likened to the great Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu. How does that feel?
Yes, people call me the female ‘Naim’. Of course that makes me proud and happy because when I started weightlifting I would hear the stories about Naim Suleymanoglu. He is my idol and a legend. Now he is active in the Turkish Weightlifting Federation as national team coordinator. Believe me, its not easy to train in front of him. I am shaking with nerves all the time!
Why couldn’t you win gold in the World Championships until this year in Antalya?
I have competed in the World Championships for eight years and won silver (2003) and two bronzes (2002/09) but those medals weren’t enough for me. Over that time I had been unfortunate with injuries before and during the competitions. Once again I had some problems prior to the Championships in Antalya in September I was suffering from pain in my kidney and couldn’t train for 25 days. But I never gave up. I became the first female Turkish athlete to win three gold medals in one world weightlifting championships. That was an historic moment for me and for my country.
What’s your training schedule? How do you get ready for major events like the Olympic Games?
Most of the time we spend half of the day training. I have two training sessions a day, each of three to four hours. In each session you lift hundreds of kilos. That adds up to tonnes if you calculate it over a period of months. I had a special period of 10 months training for Antalya. The total weight I lifted in that time was probably 550-600 tonnes!
What kind of competition are you expecting for the 2012 Games in London?
The London Olympic Games are extremely important for me because they will be the last edition of the Games that I will compete in. My dream is to retire from the sport that I love while holding the complete set of titles – Olympic, World and European. I have never competed in London or England before. In fact, the truth is that I’ve never been there! As I understand, weightlifting is not traditionally one of the more popular sports in Britain. That could change after the Olympic Games, though. Perhaps I will be one of the reasons for that with my show in London 2012!
You’re 27 and still single. Do you have any plans in your private life?
Well, I am married to my sport, you could say. But, of course, as a lady, one day I would love to have my own family. I love kids. But for the moment, wedding and kids must wait until after London 2012!