Constantly refreshing and improving itself, Darüşşafaka continues to play an important role in the development of social and cultural life in Turkey. One of these areas of development is sports.
Incorporating Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Arena which hosts international-standard sports activities as well as universal arts & cultural events, Darüşşafaka Schools saw in its early years various games and sports activities such as the capturing game, pull-up, parallel bar, handball -a game that resembles volleyball but covers a larger pitch, and running with fire-extinguisher pumps etc.
First acquaintance with soccer
Darüşşafaka's first acquaintance with soccer dates back to the years when soccer was first played in Turkey. After one of the first representatives of soccer in Turkey, the Galatasaray High School partially burnt down, part of the boarding students of the school were hosted at Darüşşafaka. The guest Galatasaray students' game of soccer at Darüşşafaka's schoolyard was also adopted by Darüşşafaka students.
Sports events at full pace
The imminent figure of the Turkish history of education, Satı Bey (Syria Counselor of Education) was appointed to Darüşşafaka as principal in 1913. With the assistance of instructors who just came back from Europe, Satı Bey implemented considerable innovations in sports, as in all other areas. He had an indoor sports venue constructed and gave way to sports events. Therefore, a brand new period has started at the school where it had been forbidden even to run. With the pioneering efforts of the physical education instructor Kalkay Sami Bey, individual sports such as track, athletic sports, wrestling and boxing were supported while soccer teams named "Saadet" (Prosperity), "Gayret" (Effort), "Harika" (Wonder), and "Küçük Darüşşafakalılar" (Little Darüşşafaker) were established. Subsequently, the Darüşşafaka Club that is comprised of the best players of classes and groups started playing games with Süleymaniye, Vefa, Şehremini, and İmalâtı Harbiye (now Ankaragücü) clubs at Yeni Bahçe Çayırı (now Vatan Street). As these clubs competed each week, the matches were considered more official in time.
Darüşşafaka Sports Club's official foundation
On the letterheads, subscription receipts and the seal of Darüşşafaka Physical Education Club, the year 1330 (Julian Calendar; corresponds to 1914) accompanies the club's name. Therefore, the year 1914 was registered as the year of foundation for Darüşşafaka Sports Club through the Turkish Alliance of Training Associations. Yet it is a known fact that the club was active inside the school in 1908 under the name "Sebat" (Tenacity).
Playing soccer and volleyball in its early years, Darüşşafaka Sports Club obtained considerable achievement among sports clubs such as Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş. The club announced its basketball branch on 4 June 1951 and made substantial moves in basketball. The championship acquired among Istanbul's high schools in 1950-1951 and the success in following years, along with the U16 championship in basketball caused the Club to attach more focus to the branch of basketball. Darüşşafaka came in the 4th place in Istanbul in 1957-58, 1958-59 and 1960-61 seasons; the 3rd in Istanbul in 1961-62, and became the "Champion of Istanbul" in 1959-60 and the "Turkish Champion of Basketball" in 1960-61 and 1961-62, two years in a row. The team also won the "Özdemir Tuncer Cup" three times in a row in 1958, 1959 and 1960. In the European Tour in 1959, the team acquired the second place in Belgium. In 1962, Darüşşafaka Basketball Team became the first Turkish team to rise to quarter finals in a European Cup and had its name inscribed in the Turkish sports history. Darüşşafaka raised countless players and coaches for the Turkish basketball and the Turkish national team.
Obtaining substantial success in its first years of foundation, Darüşşafaka Volleyball Team became the "champion of second division" and advanced to Istanbul League 1. Darüşşafaka Volleyball Team became the "Champion of Istanbul" for the first time in 1959, then the "Champion of Turkey" in 1960. The team was the first Turkish team to join European Cups.
Raising the athletes of the future
Founded in 1914, Darüşşafaka Sports Club raised many players for Turkish national soccer, basketball and volleyball teams.
The Club also established in 2001-2002 season the Junior Basketball Team squad for students born not before 1991 to consolidate the future of basketball even further. By picking Darüşşafaka students in particular, the Club reinforces the Club-School collaboration. A role-model and a school in basketball, Darüşşafaka Sports Club carries the all-time mission to sports and represents a symbol of the equal opportunity principle in sports.
Darüşşafaka Sports Club, constantly keeping its ties strong and vivid with the school, encourages Darüşşafaka students to play sports in various branches with the Club’s license.
Darüşşafaka Sports Club is in cooperation with Doğuş Group since 2013. In 2013, Darüşşafaka Society and Darüşşafaka Sports Club allied with Doğuş Inc. in an attempt to drive Darüşşafaka Male Basketball Teams to success under the name “Darüşşafaka-Doğuş” while preserving the traditional green-black colors of Darüşşafaka Sports Club, form promising teams with a sports understanding based on “fair play”, ensure participation of Darüşşafaka students in infrastructure activities carried out as part of this new structure, invite Doğuş fans -within the context of social responsibility project- to make donations for covering the academic expenses of Darüşşafaka students, and ensure modernization of Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Sports Arena upon renovations. To this end, cooperation protocols with a term of 15+10 (optional) years have been signed.
As a strong team, Darüşşafaka Doğuş became Champions in 2014 and moved up to the Turkish first division. The year later, Darüşşafaka Doğuş began competing in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and in 2017 reached the Euroleague Playoffs. These developments provided new inspiring horizons to children playing sports in Darüşşafaka.
Darüşşafaka Chess Team
In 2013, Darüşşafaka Chess Team was established by the Club with the aim of achieving inspiring success in this branch which has a strong tradition in the school. The team, in which Darüşşafaka students and graduates also take part, became Champions and moved up to the Turkish first division in its first year, and to the Super League in the fourth season.
Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Arena
Darüşşafaka Basketball Team has its home court since 1995 at Darüşşafaka Ayhan Şahenk Arena located in Darüşşafaka Schools Campus in Maslak, Istanbul. With a spectator capacity of 3500, the sports venue can be utilized by all Darüşşafaka students limitlessly and for free.