With one gold and two silver medals, the London Games stage Turkey’s best-ever performance in the Paralympics - just two days into the competition
Turkey’s Nazmiye Muslu (L) celebrates winning gold after breaking the Paralympic and world Record in women’s powerlifting. EPA photo
Turkish athletes have already made the 2012 London Paralympics its most successful games ever in the first two days.
Nazmiye Muslu won the gold medal in women’s powerlifting before Korhan Yamaç added a silver medal to the tally on Aug. 30, the first day of the games.
On Aug. 31, Turkey won its second silver medal, thanks to Çiğdem Dede, a women’s powerlifter.
Dede, who lifted 105 kg, came after Nigerian Ivory Nwokorie’s 109kg lift.
With one gold and two silver medals, Turkey was in eighth place on the medal table on Aug. 31 when the Hürriyet Daily News
went to press.
Turkey won one gold and one bronze each in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Paralympics, so the first day guaranteed Turkey, who has also broken its participation record with 67 athletes, would finish the games with its best-ever performance.
On Aug. 30, Muslu made sports history, breaking the world and Paralympic record in women’s 40kg powerlifting with her 109kg lift.
“I have always wanted to see my name in sports history,” Muslu told Anatolia news agency. “Just like [former Olympic medalists] Naim Süleymanoğlu, Halil Mutlu and Nurcan Taylan have their names all over the place, I want mine to be as well.”
Muslu said she trained very hard after returning from Beijing empty-handed.
“I was so disappointed after failing to win a medal in 2008,” she said. “If I had not won a medal here, I was considering retiring from sport.”
The 33-year-old said she loved the atmosphere at the Excel Arena.
“The support from the crowd was overwhelming,” she said. “I got all the more excited after that support. I have never been so excited, but as I started lifting, I knew I would win the gold medal.”
On Aug. 31, Turkey got another good result in goalball, with the men’s national team beating host Great Britain 7-1 in the preliminary round game. The win came a day after the team eased its way to a 9-2 win over Sweden.
Turkey will meet Finland on Sept. 1 and Brazil
on Sept. 2 in men’s goalball.
In another team sport event, Turkish men’s football five-a-side team lost 4-0 to China
in a preliminary round game on Aug. 31. Turkey will meet Brazil
on Sept. 2 to continue its chances in the group.
In men’s wheelchair basketball, Turkey will meet Italy on Sept. 1 and Spain on Sept. 2.
Turkey beat the United States 59-50 in the opening game of the group and was set to meet Australia in the second match, which was still in progress as the Daily News went to press.
Archery, one of Turkey’s strongholds in the Paralympics, started well for the country.
Gizem Girişmen, the country’s first-ever female Paralympic medalist with her 2008 win, along with Hatice Bayar and Özlem Hacer Kalay advanced to the quarterfinals in women’s individual recurve on wheelchairs. The quarterfinals are on Sept. 1, while the semifinals and final will be on Sept. 4.
On the men’s side, however, Mustafa Demir and Özgür Özen were eliminated in the round of 16. Demir beat Malaysian Zulkifli Mat Zin 6-4 and Özen beat Chung Hua Chen 6-2 to advance to the round of 16, but both players lost their games to be knocked out of the competition.