Turkey wraps up Paralympics with ‘revolutionary’ success

Turkey wraps up Paralympics with ‘revolutionary’ success

Turkey wraps up Paralympics with ‘revolutionary’ success

Members of the Turkish men’s goalball team celebrate their bronze medal success at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. The medal in goalball became Turkey’s first-ever medal in Olympic and Paralympic team sports.

A silver medal in table tennis helped Turkey cap its most successful performance ever in the Paralympic Games.

The Turkish trio of Neslihan Kavas, Ümran Ertiş and Kübra Öçsoy lost to China in the women’s team table tennis event 3-0 to settle for a silver medal on the penultimate day of the Games in London on Sept. 8. Their silver medal capped an illustrious campaign for the country.

Turkey finished the 2012 London Paralympic Games with one gold, five silver and four bronze medals, placing it 43rd in the overall medal standings. China topped the rankings with 95 gold medals, 71 silver and 65 bronze, ahead of Russia (35 gold, 38 silver, 28 bronze) and host Great Britain (34 gold, 43 silver and 43 bronze).

The Games were wrapped up with a closing ceremony last night.

Turkey’s 10-medal haul was a great leap forward from the two previous Games, including 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing, where the country only collected one gold and one bronze apiece.

Turkey’s Youth and Sports Minister Suat Kılıç described the achievement as a “revolution.”

“Paralympic athletes worked miracles,” Kılıç said in a written statement. “The achievement is a revolution for Turkish sports. These achievements went beyond our dreams. Improving from two medals in 2008 Beijing to 10 medals means more than just a medal tally. Turkey learned the true meaning of the Paralympic Games with London 2012.”

Largest squad
Turkey sent its largest ever Paralympic squad to London, with a total of 69 athletes.

Nazmiye Muslu opened the medal tally on the first day of the Games. She won the women’s 40kg gold medal, breaking the Paralympic and world records with a 109kg lift. Her’s was the only gold medal for Turkey at the Games.

Women’s powerlifter Çiğdem Dede won a silver medal in the 44kg category, while Özlem Becerikli claimed bronze in the 56kg category.

Korhan Yamaç, Turkey’s first-ever Paralympic medalist with his gold and bronze medals in 2004, won the silver medal in the men’s 10m Air Pistol.

Judoka Nazan Akın lost to China’s Yuan Yanping in the women’s 70kg category to settle for a silver medal, while Duygu Çete won a bronze medal in the 57kg category.

Table tennis player Neslihan Kavas was a silver medalist and archer Doğan Hancı won the bronze medal in other individual branches.

Apart from the team table tennis competition, another Turkish team that won a medal was the men’s goalball team, which took the bronze medal after a 4-1 win over Lithuania. That was Turkey’s first ever medal in Olympic and Paralympic team sports.

‘Weirwolf’ wins marathon


Britain’s David Weir won the men’s wheelchair marathon for his fourth gold of the Games, as the London Paralympic Games entered their final lap yesterday with a valedictory tour of the city’s streets.

In a triumphant finish for the host nation, Weir, dubbed “the Weirwolf,” claimed a clean sweep of four golds out of four races, completing the grueling 42-kilometer course in 1:30.20.

“It’s a dream come true,” the 33-year-old London Marathon veteran told Britain’s Channel 4 television after beating great rivals Marcel Hug, the “Swiss silver bullet”, into silver and Kurt Fearnley of Australia into bronze.

“Obviously I dreamt about winning all my races but it was going to be a tough order. I really had to dig deep.”

Weir, who was born with a severed spinal cord which left him unable to use his legs, won the T54 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m titles on the track. He also won the 800m and 1,500m middle-distance double in Beijing.