2017 a year of glory for Turkish sport

2017 was a historic year for Turkey's sports, with Fenerbahçe winning EuroLeague title, Turkey winning the European wheelchair basketball and amputee football titles and Ramil Guliyev winning the 200-meter world title

2017 was a year of sporting successes for Turkey, but the country also lost two of its leading sporting figures.

On Jan. 22, İlhan Cavcav, president of Turkey's top-tier side Gençlerbirliği, died at the age of 81 in Ankara, marking the end of his 40-year-long career as a football organizer.

Cavcav, known for his colorful personality, led Gençlerbirliği for more than 37 years and was famed for his ability to net talented young footballers at a bargain and later sell them for astronomical prices. He was also known for frequently changing club coaches, 56 in 37 years, including the likes of Kemal Özdeş, who was sacked without getting to manage a single match.

On Feb. 12-18, the European Youth Olympic Festival began in eastern Turkey's Erzurum with 675 athletes from 34 countries participating in the event.

In March, İbrahim Ahmed Acar became the first Turkish fencer to win a world title. Acar, 17, made history at this year's World Cadet and Junior Fencing Championships in Bulgaria after beating his American rival Christopher Walker in the final.

The victory came only a month after Acar brought Turkey its first fencing championship title in a European competition by winning the Europe Cadet and Junior Fencing Championship.

On May 21, Turkish giant Fenerbahçe beat Greece's Olympiacos 80-64, becoming the first Turkish team to win the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title.

Also in May, Beşiktaş retained the 15th Turkish title, securing the third star for their crest. This was the Black

Eagles second successive title since moving to the Vodafone Arena April 2016.

On July 1, Turkey Men's national team defeated Britain 76-69 in the final match of the European Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Spain.

Turkish national sprinter Mizgin Ay won a bronze medal in the girls' 200-meter final at the International Association of Athletics Federations World U18 Championships in Nairobi on July 16. The 17-year-old crossed the finish line with a time of 23.76 seconds, breaking her own record.

Also in July, Turkey hosted the 23rd Summer Deaflympics. It claimed a total of 46 medals, including 17 gold, seven silver, and 22 bronze medals. The Turkish team broke its own record and finished fourth in the medal tally.

On Aug. 10, Ramil Guliyev won the 200-meter world title in London, outsprinting South Africa's Wayne van Niekerk.

Guliyev clocked 20.09 seconds to hand Turkey its first ever world gold medal.

Later in the month, Turkish female wrestler Yasemin Adar claimed gold in the 2017 World Wrestling Championships in Paris. She defeated her Belarusian rival in the final on the third day of the event.

On Oct. 8, Castrol Ford Team Turkey won the nation its first car racing championship at the European Rally Championship in Latvia. The team won 153 points in the competition organized by the International Federation of Automobile Sports (FIA).

A day after, Turkey's national amputee football team defeated England 2-1 in Istanbul's Vodafone Park to become the European champions.

The biggest loss for the Turkish sports arena this year was the death of three time Olympic gold medalist and multiple World weightlifting champion Naim Süleymanoğlu.

He was 50. Popularly known as the "Pocket Hercules" for his diminutive stature, the Bulgarian-born Süleymanoğlu became a global star after setting six world records, winning three Olympic gold medals and out lifting the winner of the weight class above him at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. In 2000 and 2004 he was inducted into the International Weightlifting Federation Hall of Fame. He was awarded the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic movement, in 2001. Süleymanoğlu is the only weightlifter in history to win gold medals in three different Olympics.

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