Miha Zupan is one of the most experienced athletes competing in Deaflympics 2017. The Slovenian star, who has been in Turkey for his club career for four years, is the first and only deaf basketball player ever to play in the Euroleague.

Miha Zupan, who has spent the last years of his 16 years of professional career in Ankara, Uşak, and Afyon, is quite familiar with the Turkish culture and lifestyle. The four seasons that he passed in various cities of Turkey make the Slovenian athlete, 34, feel like home in Samsun.

‘’MY PARENTS ARE NOT DEAF"

Miha Zupan who said that there is no one with hearing impairment in his family stated that this disability comes from birth. The successful basketball player who told that he was diagnosed one year after he came to the world, said: ''My mother realized that I did not react to any calling, even being called with my name. When she saw that I did not react to anything around me, they took me to the doctor. The diagnosis of being deaf was then put on"

‘’EUROLEAGUE IS HIGH-LEVEL"

Miha Zupan, who had the opportunity to play in Euroleague during the period when he was playing in important teams of his country, Union Olimpija, said: "“I was playing for union Olimpija. I was very excited because Euroleague is a very high-level competition. To be honest, I didn’t even know that I was at that level. When I think back years later I wonder “have I really done that?”. It was extraordinary. I have shown what I and other deaf people can do. It’s been an honour for me to play in Euroleague alongside legends like Spanoulis”

HIS FIRST NATIONAL A TEAM EXPERIENCE IS IN TURKEY

Miha Zupan started basketball at the age of 13. In his early days, was playing basketball with his friends in a club for the Deaf, in Ljubljana. The athlete, who spent time with people like himself, has shown continuous improvement over the past three years and is at a different level than the people in his environment.

He said:"I got an offer from a team of athletes who could hear when I was 16. My coach on the team trusted me a lot. He believed in my talents. From that day on, my professional career progressed parallel to the athletes who could hear, not with the deaf athletes." and added these referring to the period that he was playing for the Slovenia at national A team level:

"' My career was getting better every day. My coaches were following me closely and were aware of my progress. For the first time in 2005, I was invited to the national team, but I did not enter the final squad including 12 people. Although I have been taken into the group 16 candidates twice after 2005, I have not been evaluated as enough to find a place in the championship and I have not been among the last 12 people. I have been very patient. I continued to work and finally I was taken to the final squad at the 2010 World Basketball Championship in Turkey. Personally, this was one of my biggest achievements for me. ''

DEAFNESS SOMETIMES TURNS INTO AN ADVANTAGE

Slovene athlete, 34, who stated that he sometimes had problems communicating with his coach and his teammates because he could not hear it, summarized his experiences on the field as follows: "I have problems because of my disability like which attack set to do and which plan to apply. Or I can miss the referee's whistle. But these are problems that can be solved. Of course, deafness does not only bring disadvantages. This has also great advantages. You do not hear competitor players, fans on the tribunes, or the sound of the music. Thanks to these playing a more concentrated game is a great advantage on the field."

"TURKISH CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE IS VERY WARM"

Zupan, who played basketball in Turkey for four years, first wore Turk Telekom's and then Uşak Sportif's jerseys. Slovenian center passed the last season in one of the Turkey Men's Basketball 2nd League team, Afyon Belediyespor.

Zupan said that he had no trouble in the four years he spent in Turkey and that he had made very good friendships, said: ‘’I’ve been in Turkey for four years. I can say I had the best time in Ankara. I made great friends there. I had an amazing time with them. Uşak and Afyon are small cities compared to Ankara, but I had similar friends there too. There are strong clubs like fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Efes, and Darüşşafaka in Turkey. It’s an honour for me to play in such a competitive league. People in Turkey are very kind. Turkish culture and lifestyle are also very warm for me. I really enjoyed the 4 years I spent here and I hope I stay for a few years more.”

 

Turkish Airlines is the official airline of "23rd Summer Deaflympics Samsun 2017" and special discounts are offered on certain booking classes. In order to proceed with the online booking tool for Turkish Conventions please visit the Turkish Conventions website https://www4.thy.com/TKC/app/main?language=en and use the event code “154TKM17” under delegate section.