Turkey goes to Paralympics with high hopes
(Clockwise from top) The men’s wheelchair basketball team, shooter Korhan Yamaç and archer Gizem Girişmen are among Turkey’s biggest medal hopes in London.Turkey is sending its largest group of athletes ever to next week’s Paralympic Games in London.
The country will be represented with 67 athletes at the Paralympics, more than four times its number at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Turkey had eight athletes in 2004 Athens and 16 in 2008 Beijing.
The main reason for the massive increase is that Turkey will be represented in team sports for the first time, with basketball, futsal and goalball teams heading to compete at the 2012 Paralympics, which will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.
Turkey’s first ever Paralympic golden medalist, archer Gizem Girişmen, will defend her title in the individual recurve.
“I have worked for six hours a day for months and had three different camps. Now I feel ready for the London Games,” Girişmen told Anatolia news agency. “I worked hard and will try my best to defend my title in London.”
Girişmen is aware that the expectations doubled after her Beijing success.
“Returning from Beijing with a gold medal gave me extra responsibility,” she said. “I am going to London being aware of it. I want to win another gold medal to give pride to my country.”
Girişmen is one of 11 archers in the Turkish Paralympic squad.
Apart from Girişmen, the only other Turkish medalist in Beijing with her bronze, Neslihan Kavas, is one of six table tennis players in the Turkish squad.
Turkey also has six powerlifters, six judokas, five shooters, five track and field athletes and two swimmers going to the Paralympics.
Shooter Korhan Yamaç, Turkey’s first-ever Paralympic medalist with a gold medal in the mixed free pistol and bronze in the mixed sport pistol in 2004, is among the country’s medal hopes. World champion shooter Cevat Karagöl is another.
“We are going to the Paralympics with a record number of athletes,” Karagöl said. “I hope we do our best to return with medals.”
But for Paralympic athletes, winning is not the only goal.
“I had not even thought about making it to the Paralympics,” said Nesim Öner, a blind track and field athlete. “I have worked hard and reached the ultimate goal, something every athlete dreams about. I believe I will represent my country in the best way possible.”
Jordanians out after sex claims
AMMAN - Agence France-Presse
Three members of the Jordanian Paralympic team accused of sex offences at a pre-Games training camp in Northern Ireland have been withdrawn from the event, an official said yesterday.
“The Jordanian Olympic Committee has decided to pull out the three athletes. They will arrive in Amman later today,” a committee official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The three men, released on Aug. 22 on combined bail and sureties of 5,500 each, “will still attend their trial,” he said.
The official added that “other Jordanian members will continue to take part in the Games.” Two wheelchair-using powerlifters and a trainer appeared at a court on Aug. 22 facing charges including sexual assault and voyeurism.
The men were arrested on Aug. 20 in the town of Antrim, north of Belfast, after three women lodged complaints.
Powerlifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, faces three charges of sexual assault, two against a child, and one of voyeurism after allegedly entering a women’s changing room at the team’s training center.
Police said he was identified by a 14-year-old girl who claimed that she posed for photos with him before he groped her between the legs in Antrim town center.
The same day, a girl aged 16 said she was walking along the river path with a friend when their path was blocked by the three accused.
Police alleged that the girl was pushed by one of the men towards Omar, who placed his arm around her waist and tightened his grip, but then she ran away.