Nesrin Akyuz: “My daily inspiration is my dream. Every day, I said to myself I will be the first fitness coach with a prosthetic leg in Euroleague”.

Nesrin Akyuz graduated in 2018 to become the first fitness coach with a prosthetic leg. Her impressive story is made by the way that she stood strong against difficult circumstances. It’s the triumph of her will to overcome every obstacle, being now an example for all of us. She found a lot of motivation during his internship with Fenerbahce Beko and her idol in basketball is Zeljko Obradovic.

You are one of the most inspirational people for me and for many others. Tell me a bit about your life from childhood till now.

My name is Nesrin Akyuz, a Turkish born in 1990 in Beirut Lebanon. My story back to 1992, when I was standing on the balcony of our house in Lebanon and a bullet from a celebration attack my leg. I was too young (2 years old) but I fought to stay alive. After six months, I was able to win over gangrene, protect my knee, and stay alive. (My amputation is under the knee).

At the age of 8 and 10, I broke my leg while playing basketball. After the second broke, I understand more about my amputation and my medical case. In addition, I understand that I have many limitations in my movement and I can’t play basketball again.

At university, I studied Nutrition and dietetic but I didn’t like this major especially as Turkish I can’t have my private clinic in Lebanon. In addition, I always wish to do something related to my passion for basketball and sport.

I start searching in a way to follow my passion so I decided to study Nutrition and sport physiology. I found in this major my first step to achieving my dream and my passion for basketball. At my master’s degree, I pass in many difficulties. Some of my doctors and my friends insulted me because of my amputation. Every time I think about quitting my major, I remember my dream and my target.

I can say that those bullying was a source to push me to work harder and to show that I’m able to a fitness coach with a prosthetic leg.

In December 2017, I decided to share my story on social media. To show that my amputation is my strength and not my weak point as they think.

This picture was the beginning of many interviews and participation in many awareness campaigns for disabled people.

I graduate in June 2018. I become the first fitness coach with a prosthetic leg.

Why did you choose the Fenerbahce basketball club to make your internship?

I choose my internship with Fenerbahce because Fenerbahce is my childhood team. In 1998, I was impressed by the black draw on the face of Ruştu Reçber that make me follow the Fenerbahce club and become a fan of this team. Besides, Zeljko Obradovic is one of my idols.

How was your experience with Fenerbahce organization? What did you like the most in that period?

In every interview, I spoke about my dream to be a fitness coach in Euroleague and stand next to Obradovic. Many people laugh at my dream so I decided to contact Fenerbahce and send them my CV. I remember, it was November 2018 when Miss Defne Patir replies to me and said that I can join the team for an observing internship.

On December 25, I started my observing internship. During those days I met my team players that I always follow them behind the screen and meet my idol. I learn many academic and Profesional things. This adventure will always have a part in my heart because I see respect and professionalism attitude that I didn’t see it during my work with the Lebanese players during my thesis.

I will never forget the warm welcome by the manager Mauricio Gherardini, staff, and players. Also, I will always keep my gift from Obradovic in my heart.

There is a lot of memory but the best thing is that they treat me as Nesrin without being pity because of my leg and they support me and tell me to believe in my dream.

Do you have idols that inspires you?

I have many idols depending on the situation. In Basketball, I have Zeljko Obradovic. His Passion, his personality, and his philosophy give me a lot of positivity. His journey with Fenerbahce can show you that nothing is impossible as long as you work hard and you fight for your dream. Also, Never enough always ask to be better than before.

What is the source of your daily motivation?

My daily inspiration is my dream. Every day, I said to myself I will be the first fitness coach with a prosthetic leg in Euroleague.

I know it isn’t easy but I always try to contact agents or teams or Federation till someone reply and joins a team.

I’m sure this day is coming and I will write the history soon and collect trophies with the team that I will sign for them.

Which is your message for the basketball community?

Basketball is a passion for many people around the world. I hope to get my opportunity and be able to show my skills and my knowledge. I hope one day the basketball community will remember my name.

Photo: Nesrin Akyuz personal archive

Gratian Cormos