A teenage Paralympic swimmer has been crowned European champion after winning in the Women’s 50 meters Backstroke S5 category. Sümeyye Boyacı, 15, won a gold medal at the 2018 World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, with a time of 45.21 seconds.
After finishing fourth in last year’s World Para Championships in Mexico City, Boyacı swam over a second faster the final on Tuesday to take the European title. Leading from the start, she beat experienced para swimmer Teresa Perales of Spain, who took silver, and Italy’s Monica Boggioni who won bronze. Turkey’s 14-year-old Sevilay Öztürk found herself just outside the medal positions, fading in the last 10 meters after a strong start.
The para-swimming classification system allocates an S prefix for individual freestyle, backstroke and butterfly races. Swimmers in the S5 category are those with short stature and an additional impairment, with loss of control over one side of their body (hemiplegia) or with paraplegia compete in this sport class.
Sümeyye Boyacı wins Women’s 50m Backstroke S5 Final, Dublin, 2018
From Eskişehir,Boyacıwas born without arms (bilateral congenital upper extremity agenesis) and a hip dislocation. She learned to write with her foot in first grade at a special school and took up swimming in 2008, making her international debut in 2016.
Coached by Mehmet Bayrak, Boyacıswims freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, specialising in sprint events. Before the 2018 European Championships, her best result had been a bronze medal in the 50m Backstroke S1-5 at the 2017 European Para Youth Games in Liguria, Italy.