Scotland

Olympic dream for Borders kebab shop owner

Iskan Barskanmay
Image caption Iskan has been given a target of reaching 10.8 seconds to qualify

A Borders kebab shop owner is hoping to be selected for the 2012 Olympics and line up against sprinter Usain Bolt.

Iskan Barskanmay, 31, has been given a target of reaching 10.8 seconds in the 100m to qualify for the Turkish team.

He moved to Scotland from Turkey in 1995, and has combined his training with running his takeaway shop in Jedburgh.

The Turkish Athletics Federation have set him the target, provided it is achieved at a recognised championship.

He has already won a £2,500 prize in the 110m at the Jed-Forest Border Games last summer and was third at the New Year Sprint at Musselburgh Racecourse.

Although he has been running for the past 15 years, it is only since becoming his own boss that he has found proper time to devote to training.

The 31-year-old believes he is capable of getting under 11 seconds.

He said: "I can imagine myself up against Usain Bolt, but it all depends on if I get to the Olympics.

"I'm not scared - it would be great, and if I'm going to get beaten I'd like to be beaten by the best."

He added: "I've got big dreams. To go the Olympics is my biggest dream ever and hopefully I will achieve that.

"I have got two years of training to do to get to the Olympics, but if by next year I qualify for the Turkish team then I have plenty of time to train and get myself sharpened up."

Iskan said the support from local residents in Jedburgh had been amazing.

He said: "It is one of the reason I want to go to the Olympics, it will make the local people proud too."

Iskan arrived in Hawick 15 years ago from Turkey to work in his uncle's kebab shop.

During his first few months in Scotland he saw local binman Drew Bryson coaching a group of children in a park.

He said: "I saw Drew training his group and when he came into the shop I asked if I could have a go.

"I did okay but I couldn't train as much as I would have liked because of work."

Iskan said he had only started to really improve in the last couple of years since he had opened his own shop in Jedburgh, allowing him to train when he wanted.

"The problem at the moment is that all of my times are done on grass so we don't really know exactly how fast I can go," he added.

"My coach believes I am easily capable of running below 11 seconds and I'm confident of getting the time needed before the end of the 2011 summer."

Turkey failed to send any sprinters to the Beijing Olympics.

The country's current 100 metres record of 10.38 seconds, set by Resat Oguz, has stood since 1998.