female Para taekwondo fighter Meryem Betul Cavdar smiles with her coach

Meryem Betul Cavdar


It was not that long ago when the Para taekwondo world did not even know the name of Turkey’s No. 2 world ranked Meryem Betul Cavdar. Then she knocked off two of the top-ranked fighters in the division to claim a bronze at her first World Championship. She has not looked back since.

She claimed a silver at the Asian Open Championships and a bronze at the European tournament, but her most promising win came at the 2017 IWAS World Games, when she gave Mongolia’s No. 1-ranked Enkhtuya Khurelbaatar her first loss. At just 18 years old, Cavdar has shown plenty of reason to contend for a title at Tokyo 2020, where the sport will make its Paralympic debut.