Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Sevda Altunoluk puts on stellar performance as Turkey defends Paralympic title

Brazilian men's goalball team claims first gold following 7-2 win over China 03 Sep 2021
Turkish female goalball team celebrates after defending the Paralympic title in Tokyo.
Turkish female goalball team celebrates after defending the Paralympic title in Tokyo
ⒸOIS Photos

Sevda Altunoluk had another performance to remember as Turkey successfully defended the women's goalball Paralympic title following a 9-2 victory over the USA on Friday (3 September) at Tokyo 2020.

The world's best player scored all nine goals to finish as the top scorer with a staggering 46 goals.

Having beaten China in the showpiece five years ago, they joined Canada, who triumphed in 2000 and 2004, in winning gold at successive Games.

One Turkish debutant, Reyhan Yilmax said she did not feel any pressure beforehand, despite playing in the biggest game of her life.

“Absolutely not. I didn’t feel any pressure because I motivated myself to not be anxious on the field. I left that all behind."

The 19-year-old also hoped this victory could be a step forward in Turkish sport.

“As we win as many gold medals as we can, we can invite more people inside. When they see our victories, they want to be part of this sport and family.

“This was really important for Turkish blind sports, and many more people will want to feel these emotions.”

They had lost in the group stage to the USA, their first and only ever defeat at the Paralympics and Yilmaz admitted that defeat had stung for Turkey and ensured they had even more motivation going into the final.

“We were really angry after the group game and we really wanted to win. This game, we took the revenge.”

The USA had beaten Turkey in the group stage and claimed an outstanding semi-final in extra throws against Brazil but were brushed aside by the reigning champions.

Asya Miller and Lisa Czechowski won their fourth Paralympic medals, having claimed bronze at Rio 2016, gold at Beijing 2008 and silver at Athens 2004, to match fellow countrywoman Jen Armbruster’s all-time record.

Czechowski revealed how proud the achievement was, in such an illustrious career.

“It’s an honour to achieve this milestone. I have played with so many amazing goalball athletes from the United States, and competed against so many more. I’m so proud to be a part of Team USA and a part of our team.”

“We had such a tough journey to get to this gold medal game, every moment of every game meant so much to me.”

Japan won a second Paralympic bronze medal in the women’s when they beat Brazil 6-1 with Eiko Kakehata and Norika Hagiwara both scoring hat-tricks.

Brazil claim maiden men's goalball title 

Ⓒ OIS Photos

Brazil claimed a first Paralympic gold medal when they convincingly beat 2008 gold medalists China 7-2. Josemarcio Sousa scored a hat-trick for the second successive game.

Finishing an impressive tournament as joint top scorer with 26 goals alongside China’s Mingyuan Yang, Sousa partnered with Leomon Moreno who also claimed a treble while captain Romario Marques grabbed a double.

Competing in their second final having finished runners-up behind Finland at London 2012, this was a completely different performance. Brazil showed impressive defensive resilience in the first half before showing why they scored 60 goals in just seven matches.

Only losing one match, against Rio 2016 silver medallists the USA, it has been an outstanding tournament from Alessandro Tosim’s side. They also beat Lithuania, gold medallists from five years ago, twice including in the semi-final.

For China, a silver medal, only their second medal in Paralympic history, marked an impressive turnaround after they only just got out of their group.

For Yang, there is personal pride in finishing as joint top scorer as his side earned notable victories over hosts Japan and Rio 2016 silver medalists the USA in the semi-final.

Rio 2016 champions Lithuania claimed medals at successive Games as they beat the USA 10-7 to win the bronze medal, in a rematch of the final five years ago.