Turkey’s Rabia recalls earthquake horror : The Tribune India

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Turkey’s Rabia recalls earthquake horror

Turkey’s Rabia recalls earthquake horror

Rabia Topuz and her family were lucky as they barely made it out alive but the events of that night have left her scarred.



Tribune News Service

Vinayak Padmadeo

New Delhi, March 17

One can feel Rabia Topuz’s pain and sorrow when talking to the Turkish boxer about the tragedy of February 6 when a powerful earthquake shook parts of her country and neighbouring Syria.

Over 50,000 people lost their lives. At the time, Rabia was in her hometown Malatya in the eastern Anatolia region. Rabia and her family were lucky as they barely made it out alive but the events of that night have left her scarred.

“I was in Malatya during the earthquake. I was scared and in a shock as I did not know what to do. I ran straight out as the earthquake continued. It was very cold that night. We were all shivering in those conditions,” Rabia recalled.

“Our home was destroyed and we had to sleep in cars for 10 days before moving into tents. I am still

living in a tent with my family, hoping that we would get a house soon to move in,” she added.

Difficult time

Dealing with such a tragedy, sports took a backseat. Rabia, like the other athletes from her country, had next to no time to prepare for the Women’s World Championships. It reflected in her first-round exit in the 50kg category on the opening day.

“It was a very difficult time before the tournament as I could seriously train for only 10 days. The only thing I did not lose was my spirit and I gave my best to prepare for the tournament,” Rabia said.

“It is very hard to compete under the circumstances but you have to do it for the country. The Turkish flag keeps me motivated to give my best in the ring. I will start my training after returning to Turkey with my team. I think we will stay in Izmir to train for the forthcoming tournaments,” she added.

Tuncay Varol, chief coach of the Turkish contingent, talked about the difficulties of getting the boxers ready for the tournament.

“We suffered a great disaster as a country and it deeply affected all of us. However, life goes on. We have the Paris Olympics ahead of us and have to keep working on our goal. The World Championships was a tournament we had to attend and we did it by putting our pain behind us. No matter how bad the situation is, we have a team that can overcome it,” Varol said.

“We trained in Istanbul and Kastamonu. Of course, we had difficulties but our boxers are strong mentally. They are very responsible and did their duty in the ring. The earthquake was traumatic but we took the help of our psychologist friends in the camp to overcome it,” he said.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.


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