30475-Elif Ildem photo

Elif Ildem



Impairment information


Further personal information

Istanbul, TUR
Athlete, Psychologist
English, Turkish
Higher education
Psychology - Istanbul Bilgi University: Turkey

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began Para swimming at age 20 at Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi SK in Turkey.
Why this sport?
She took up the sport as part of her rehabilitation. "I had to swim on the recommendation of the doctor. 'You can come and swim in our club', my uncle said to me. Of course, at first, we were thinking more for rehabilitation, but when I entered the pool, my coaches always said to me, 'You swim very well, you have to participate in the races'. It was the first time that I met sport in a professional sense. It was a turning point in my life."
Club / Team
Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyesi SK: Turkey
Training Regime
She trains six days a week. "At 09:00 I do gym training and at 10:30 I get into the water. I do swimming practice for about two hours."

General interest

Travel, watching films, extreme sports, reading, spending time with friends, photography. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019;, 29 Dec 2020;, 03 Dec 2021; Instagram profile, 14 May 2022)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Instagram profile, 28 Dec 2021;, 03 Dec 2021)
Most influential person in career
Her mother, and coach Mehmet Fatih Kurt. (, 03 Dec 2021; Athlete, 04 Dec 2017)
Hero / Idol
Turkish Greco-Roman wrestler Cenk Ildem. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"My education is my life. I have come to this point by trying hard in my sports life. In fact, the secret of this success is perseverance, effort and not giving up." (, 03 Dec 2021)
Famous relatives
Her uncle Dayim Huseyn has served as a wrestling coach at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club in Turkey. (, 14 Feb 2020)
To compete at the 2022 World Championships in Madeira, Portugal. (Instagram profile, 31 Mar 2022)
She has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease [CMT], which affects the peripheral nerves and causes muscle wasting and weakness. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017, 12 Sep 2019)
Other information
She has spoken about the positive effect swimming has on her physical and mental condition. "Since I have Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and I am in a wheelchair, of course swimming has very positive effects. The most important thing is the psychological impact. My social life has become more diverse. I have started to look at life more positively. As I feel free in the water, it also reflects in the outside world. Although competing can cause performance anxiety and other stresses we experience in sports, I can say that swimming has reduced the anxiety that I experience in general daily life." (, 17 Dec 2019)

In 2019 she graduated with a master's degree in clinical psychology from Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey. "I received training in the field of sports psychology. There are many physically impaired athletes in Turkey. I want to specialise in this field and help them. I try to combine my sports and academic career." (, 16 Dec 2019; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020;, 29 Dec 2020)


Unit Date Rank
Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships (Mexico City, Mexico)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Backstroke S3 Final 1 2017-12-03 7