‘Change of National Representation’ for upcoming Wheelchair Fencing talent, Elke Lale van Achterberg
Elke Lale van Achterberg was identified as Wheelchair Athlete with International Potential at the IWAS World Junior Games 2014 at just 13 years old.
Wheelchair fencer, Elke Lale van Achterberg has competed in her home country of The Netherlands since she first took up the sport at just 12 years old. Her first taste of international competition came in the summer of 2014 at the IWAS World Junior Games in Stoke Mandeville, UK where her impressive and dedicated performances representing The Netherlands secured her the IWAS Wheelchair Athlete with International Potential Award as well as individual and team Bronze medals.
However, with a Dutch and Turkish dual nationality from birth, Elke Lale, has now taken the steps to formally compete internationally in representation of the Turkish National Team. The choice to transfer national representation comes in anticipation of greater support and opportunities within the Turkish team in pursuit of Elke Lale’s long term sporting goals.
"It is my goal to be the best wheelchair fencer in the world and the Paralympic Champion in the future. I am still very young, 15 years old, but if you want to get your goal you have to go for it and embrace all the opportunities you get. The Turkish Paralympic Federation and my club Nilüfer Belediyespor gives me the opportunities to make my dream come true’
With the full support of the Dutch Fencing Federation (KNAS), the decision to change national representation was made official on 2nd February 2016.
‘Elke Lale is extremely proud to have the opportunity to represent Turkey, her grandfathers country. The transfer opens many opportunities for her and I would like to thank IWAS for their assistance with the change’ said Elke Lale’s mother, Gaby van Achterberg.
Elke Lale will continue to live and study in the Netherlands but will be training with her new fencing club, Nilüfer Belediyespor in Turkey during study breaks.
IWAS wishes Elke Lale every success in the future as she embarks on a promising Wheelchair Fencing career.
Photo Credit: Rob van Esch