E X C L U S I V E!
While at The Olympic Village, Turkey’s one and only angel Naz Aydemir granted us an exclusive interview about the 2012 London Olympics.
As a setter, how are you preparing for the Olympics?
Nothing special really. We have a very good and experienced coach and I try to do what ever he asks of me. Weight lifting, special setter trainings and the team practices are what daily practices include. We have played with all of our opponents in our group so as a setter it makes my job easier to know my duties.
As a team, what are the preparations the team has done? Any Friendly matches?
We have played the world grand prix and got the bronze medal and recently we have been the champs of the Edison Cup which has been organized in Alassio,Italy. We beat Russia in 4 sets and lost against Italy in the 5 th set. Also in London we’ll be playing a friendly match against Italy just before Olympics. We are ready.
Turkey is in a very tough pool. What are your thoughts on each team?
USA? They are the best team of our group.
Brazil? Having difficult times if we compared with the past but it will be hard to beat them.
Korea? Mix of European and Asian volleyball.
Serbia? Have injured players but has the last European Championship title .
China? A young and talented team.
At what age did you start to dream to play for the Olympics?
Its always been a dream to represent my country in Olympics… But I remember watching the opening ceremony of SYDNEY 2000, and telling myself I want to be there one day myself.
What has been the most challenging part of your Olympic journey within the last 4 years and what have you done to overcome this challenge?
I got injured last year and this was a very difficult time for me… There was only a year left till Olympics and I felt terrible with the pain. I was seen by a lot of highly respected doctors and they all had different opinions. This period was a big growing up period for me and I kept saying to myself I had to beat that injury and once I did, I wud be stronger and better than ever. That’s why I keep saying my motto is “what doesn’t kill me , makes me stronger” Look at me now, I m healthy, happy and going to Olympics with my team.
Any volleyball athletes or athletes from other sports you are interested to meet in London and in the Olympic Village?
I would love to meet Roger Federer (Fed-ex) and Kobe Bryant.
Your family has been very supportive of your career, any special message for them?
I feel very lucky to have such parents. I don’t think I cud b such a good player if it wasn’t for them. As a young volleyball player, I always knew even if I played bad, they would love me and hug me when I m home. In my opinion, this is critical on the way to get a good professional athlete.
What are Turkeys strengths coming in to London?
First of all our team spirit . We never give up and fight till the last whistle. As technical skills, I think I can say our strong serve is our biggest weapon as a team since we create difficult moments for the best receivers. I believe we don’t have a big weakness that other teams can attack and that makes a threat to any team on our good day… We are also good friends outside of volleyball so it helps us during our matches to know eachother well.
What’s in your travel bag for London?
Clothes and stuff that our Olympic committee and federation has given us.. Some casual clothes for free time. My external hard disk which has a lot of movied and series that I like to watch and my books to read. My hair clipses in same colors of our jerseys and one final thing; I always carry my pink nail polish with me cause it brings me luck. So of course, its in my travel bag too.
Any special message for your fans?
Turkish fans are great. Especially playing for a team like Fenerbahce taught me how important fans’ support is. Turkish fans follow and support us wherever we go, weather we lose or win, weather we play good or bad. When we play for national team at home, they always make it difficult for our opponent because they are loud. We love it as a team! So I would like to say thank you to them
“ TESEKKURLER TURKIYE”
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned so far from playing volleyball?
May be it will sound a bit like a cliché but actually I have really learnt that ‘what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’ After every defeat, I know that I have to stand up and try to work harder. When I had injuries here and there, I stayed cool, did what I can and came out of each one as a better player. So shortly, we can say that volleyball taught me never to give up in life.
Fill in the blank. After the Olympics, I will …
Go on a vacation first and after start practicing again.