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17/02/2018 11:00
Getting to know – Gizem Karadayi
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Istanbul, Turkey, February 17, 2018. “My father, grandfather, great-grandfather, even their brothers, they were all wrestlers. My mom though, she played Volleyball in college. Because of her influence, my elder sister started playing Volleyball as well. I was a very energetic child; that is why my mom made me play various sports, so that I could spend some energy and use it for something good,” recalls the libero of Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL, Gizem Karadayi. “Taekwondo, basketball, ice skating, swimming etc. I did all, really. However, Volleyball attracted my attention during the time I watched my sister playing. I said ‘Hey, I want to try this out’ and I eventually started doing it,” she says of where her passion for Volleyball firstly got ignited.
 
Gizem played as a hitter for a long time but in 2008, things changed when she arrived in Galatasaray. Her position switched to libero and she might feel a bit of a regret as she says, “I miss spiking balls sometimes.”
 
She considers Galatasaray a real candidate for the title in the Turkish national league as well as in the Champions League: “Titles are always the main target when a team is put together. However, I think it is more about the chemistry within the team. I played for teams that had no big claim on titles at the beginning of the season but ended up winning them and it was all about the chemistry at that certain time. Right now, I feel the chemistry is coming along for us at Galatasaray. We get better with each day. We sometimes get off to very slow starts, and we need to eliminate that. If so, we are one of the biggest candidates for the title.”


 
Speaking of her hobbies, she specifically remarks her passion for motorcycles. She also likes to go and watch movies, explore new places and spend time with her dog.
 
She started the 2017-2018 campaign playing for BURSA BBSK but transferred to Galatasaray mid-season. “My last game in Bursa was against VakifBank but I could not play that game due to a minor injury. After that game, my agent called me and said ‘be ready to pack up and go to Istanbul tomorrow.’ I was initially surprised but next thing you know that Galatasaray needed me. I was keen on making this move too because I needed a lift in my career again. Returning to the Champions League, the possibility of being in the Final Four again… I have missed these feelings the last two years. Therefore, I arrived in Istanbul and everything was finished in one and a half days. During the process, I heard Nihan Güneyligil and Mehmet Berent Bayrakçı got grilled a bit trying to complete everything but I was rather at ease.”


 
She is the first-ever Turkish libero who played abroad [in Switzerland with Volero ZÜRICH] and putting Volleyball before anything else seemingly was the key for her success: “Volleyball has always been the priority in my life. It has made me stronger in life. I have formed a firm attachment with it since my first day and it is still intact. I guess that kind of mentality has brought me this far in my career. I almost feel like I was born to play this game. Of course, family is a big part of this. They supported me all along. My husband, too, after marriage. One cannot only do it all by himself. Support from others is needed and without it, I wouldn’’t have been able to achieve much.”

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