Para archer and television presenter Aydın now preparing for his first Games

Yiğit Caner Aydın won the final qualification tournament for Paris 2024 Paralympics in Dubai.

Yiğit Caner Aydın is competing in the European Para Archery Championships in Rome this week, where he will attempt to win three gold medals on Friday.

A World Archery Para Champion – from Dubai 2022 he is also known as a television presenter in his home country of Türkiye.

Not only an ordinary presenter but one of the first of his country in a wheelchair.

“It’s a role that I take great pride in,” said Aydın. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to have the opportunity to represent diversity and inclusivity in the media industry and to be able to inspire others who may be facing similar challenges.”

“It’s a field that I’m passionate about and I’m definitely open to exploring further opportunities in television presenting.”

Aydın’s efforts, however, are now firmly on preparing for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games which he qualified for in March after winning gold in the final qualification tournament in Dubai. (He also won the world ranking tournament held that same week.)

This feat is on top of a remarkable season for the 31-year-old, winning team gold in the European Para Championships and coming second of the European continental qualification tournament for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games in Rotterdam in August.

“I’ve been working on fine-tuning my technique and building up my strength and endurance,” said Aydın when asked what he’s been trying to improve this season.

Yiğit Caner Aydın celebrates Paralympic quota place.

It was the result in Dubai, however, which capped Aydın’s hard work and training not just this season but since he failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020 all those years ago in the Czech Republic in the final qualifier for the Paralympic Games.

“This year’s quota tournament in Dubai was very special for me, as it renewed my self-confidence and made me forget the impossible,” the Turkish para archer confessed. “The three 10-point shots I made in a row in the last end brought me the moment I had been waiting for years. 

“Winning both the quota and the gold medal in the tournament was indescribable for me.”

It’s not only para archery Aydın has competed though, with the Trabzon born athlete having been a part of the 2023 Conquest Cup last year in the able-bodied compound men category.

He may have lost in the first round in Istanbul, but Aydın is intending to participate in more able-bodied tournaments following the Paralympics.

“It’s definitely something I’m open to considering,” he admitted. “It would depend on various factors including my schedule, physical condition, and the opportunities available.”

“Ultimately, my main focus right now is on the Paralympics, but I’m always looking for ways to continue growing as an athlete and exploring new opportunities in archery.”

Outside of his sporting and television endeavours, Aydın regularly does charity work hoping to inspire the next wave of para archers in Türkiye through his own social responsibility projects.

One of which is called Tekkerenk where colourful covers are designed for wheelchair users.

The aim of this project, which combines the Turkish words for ‘wheel’ and ‘colour’, is to visualise the users’ stories with the covers and ensure that people who use wheelchairs can own their stories and participate in social life without fear.

From his own experiences, Aydın sees the value in growing confidence for non-able-bodied children and is passionate about projects responsible for social change like Tekkerenk.

“As someone who has faced obstacles and barriers in my own life, I know first-hand the impact that positive role models and support systems can have on a child’s life.”

“By participating in social responsibility projects, I hope to inspire and empower children to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.”

“Children are the future, and investing in their well-being and development is crucial for building a better world.”

Yiğit Caner Aydın shooting at Pilsen 2023 World Archery Para Championships.

It has been a sharp trajectory in para archery for Aydın, having only started eight years ago, he now finds himself preparing for the sport’s biggest prize, the Paralympic Games. 

But the three years before then were the toughest times of his life after suffering from a spinal cord paralysis.

Aydın gives his flowers to his family for helping him the most whilst he learnt to deal with this life-changing injury.

“My family provided unwavering love, support, and encouragement, which gave me the strength and motivation to keep pushing forward, even when things seemed improbable.”

“Their belief in me and their willingness to stand by my side every step of the way was incredibly empowering.”

Thanks to his dedication in para archery, Aydın is now aiming to be a sporting role model for Türkiye this summer as well as a recognised philanthropist and television presenter.

“I refused to let adversity define me or limit my potential.”

“And instead, I chose to channel my energy into rebuilding my life and pursuing my passions with renewed vigour and purpose.”