Catch up with Euro Indoor 2023 Ambassador for 'Clean Air', Şilan Ayyıldız, one of the top Turkish mid distancers in recent seasons.
Euro Indoor 2023 Ambassador for 'Clean Air', Şilan Ayyıldız, one of the top Turkish mid distancers in recent seasons, is about to begin her 2023 campaign. She is currently based in United States after recruited by University of South Carolina and prepare to XC season, then will focus to European Indoors in Istanbul.
Before the new season's campaign start, we have a quick chat with her.
During the past season, you managed to lower your personal bests in 800 and 1500 meters to 2:03 and 4:10, respectively. Do you have a mark-based target among this year’s plans? Or do you have a specific code in mind to focus on?
Last season I focused on 1500 meters, and I will continue to do so during the next. I definitely have certain goals in mind. First of all, I want to improve my personal bests by running below 4:10 next season. Why not breaking the national indoor record (4:09.94), for example? I am working very hard for this.
Starting from this season onwards, you will be running within the American college system. What are your expectations?
I manage to pursue my academic and sporting carrier together. I focus more on my training; I mostly train with the men’s group. I want to compete in the NCAA championship and stand on the podium. It is a really big and advantageous race. I want to make the most of it and continue with more professional groups afterwards.
The World Championships in Eugene that you took part in last summer was a major experience for you. What did you learn in Hayward Field?
It really was a major experience. My race was on Day 1, and I continued to follow the races during the days I spent in Eugene later. I can say that I even examined the warm-up routines of my opponents. Hayward Field, to me, is the heart of athletics. I am glad I experienced this, and I increased my trainings for more, since then. This race gave me hope.
You are one of Turkey’s faces in the coming Euro Indoors. There will also be a substantial expectation on you as the Balkan champion in 1500 metres. Is your itinerary for indoor preparations ready at hand? Can you briefly summarize your plans for the races and the journey to the USA and back until the championships in Ataköy, as well as your own expectations from the Euro Indoors?
I like indoor races better than outdoors and I enjoy the more. I really like running indoors. My aim is to represent my country in the best way during the European Athletics Indoor Championships. I will prepare myself for indoor training by taking part in cross races in the USA beforehand. My manager and I will set up several special races in Europe for preparation in the run-up to the championship. Then I will come to Ataköy for the championship.
1500 metres is often defined as tactically the most cunning race of the track. Are you developing specific tactics by examining your opponents with your coach? Or are your actions mostly shaped during the race?
Depends on the race. Usually, my coach and I conduct research about my opponents and make evaluations accordingly. I develop tactics most of the time. In some races, however, my plans take shape during the race. So, it depends.
What would you say on the ecological mission of the championship? Simply, what should people change in their lives for a more habitable environment?
I want to draw attention on the mission of clean air during this championship. We can start by making choices that are more nature-friendly and more sensitive towards the environment. Installing filters on the exhaust systems of our private vehicles, improving the quality of fuel used in the warming of our homes or using natural gas, reducing the use of plastic, using public transport to prevent the air pollution caused by private cars, in short, reducing the carbon dioxide emission… Simple stuff like that helps us leave a cleaner environment to posterity.