Paralympic goalball team brings Turkey first Olympic team gold
AA photoTurkey, not a regular contender in many Olympic branches, as was seen in Rio this summer, won its first Olympic gold medal in a team competition at the Paralympic Games in goalball on Sept. 16, spreading pride across the nation.
The 4-1 victory over runner-up China also gave Turkey its third gold medal at the Games.
Sevda Altunoluk continued her dominance in the sport with three goals in the final game. Altunoluk has won top scorer honors in several tournaments, including the Rio Games.
The opener against China came from Altunoluk, but China’s Fengging soon squared matters.
However, Seda Yıldız scored to give Turkey the lead, before Altunoluk took the cushion to three goals.
Neşe Mercan, Buket Atalay, Sümeyye Özcan and Gülşah Düzgün are the other members of the proud team.
Along with the three golds, Turkey also took home one silver and five bronze medals from the Paralympics Games.
The first medal at the Paralympics, which concluded on Sept. 18, came when Nazmiye Muratlı won gold in the 41-kilogram women’s weightlifting.
Abdullah Öztürk won gold in the men’s individual C4 table tennis on Sept. 13.
The men’s team, which included Ali Öztürk and Nesim Turanr along with champion Abdullah Öztürk, also won bronze at the end of the games, defeating China on Sept. 16.
Also on Sept. 13, Kübra Korkut won silver in the women’s individual C table tennis category.
In Judo, Ecem Taşın won bronze in the women’s 48-kg, while Mesme Taşbağ came third in the 70-kg class.
Ayşegül Pehlivanlar won bronze in the women’s 10 meter air pistol SH1 category.
In the Olympic Games, which ended on Aug. 21, Turkey captured only one gold, from Taha Akgül in wrestling. The country won three silvers and four bronze medals, finishing 41st on the overall medal table.
The gap between the Olympic and Paralympic performances is gradually blurring, with disabled athletes breaking record after record in Rio.
Among the stars were Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias, who added four golds, three silvers and two bronzes to his existing medal haul from Beijing and London, which earned him accolades as the Michael Phelps of the Paralympics.
There was amazement in the 1,500 meter track race when Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka set a new record that was actually faster than the winning time by Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz in the same stadium a month earlier. However, Centrowitz won in what was by Olympic standards a near record slow race, meaning Baka’s outstanding time was of mostly symbolic significance.
Once more it was China that dominated overall, with almost 100 medals more than its nearest rival, Britain, which held a comfortable second place.
The big country missing in the top section of the standings, however, was Russia, which during the London Games won 102 medals, including 36 golds.