Işıl Çalışkan / Duvar

Turkish taekwondo Nur Tatar Askari is currently preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. In an unprecedented manner, she hopes to win the Olympic gold medal without the support of sports clubs.

Finding sports clubs in Turkey ‘unqualified’ or ‘unwilling’ with regards to taekwondo, Askari hasn’t not worked with a sports club for over a year.

“I’m the only female athlete to receive Olympic medals back to back in Turkish history, but I don’t know how much this matters to anyone,” Askari said.

Asked whether she would consider signing with a club after the Olympics, Askari said she remained unsure.

“I’ve been practicing with my own facilities. I’m strong and success has never come easy to me,” Askari said.

Askari is accustomed to the reluctance she experiences today as a woman in sports. Born and raised in the conservative southeastern city of Van, Askari faced many push backs from her community as a woman practicing sports.

She said her family supported her in the face of judgement from the local community because they wanted her to be able to defend herself.

When asked whether she experiences any prejudice as a woman practicing taekwondo, Askari noted that she had to practice with male partners when she was young, which she says is “one of the biggest reasons” she’s so successful.

“I’ve let the whole world know about a woman’s strength. Now when people hear I practice taekwondo they usually ask ‘Will you beat me up?'” Askari said.