Abdullah Ozturk cannot recall epic celebration of second Paralympic title

Turkish table tennis star was so ecstatic that he ran his wheelchair straight into a barrier and fell out in a gold medal moment which went viral

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Abdullah Ozturk cannot remember his celebration after he retained his Paralympic table tennis title in the individual C4 class. His mind has gone blank.

Fortunately, the whole match is on YouTube (geo-restrictions apply).

After he wins a long rally with Republic of Korea’s KIM Young-Gun to secure a 3-1 victory, the Turk rushes away to celebrate with his team. He then runs his wheelchair into a Tokyo 2020 barrier and falls out of his chair.

Ozturk's team drape him in the Turkish flag and lift him back into his wheelchair to continue celebrating his country's first Paralympic gold of Tokyo 2020.

"Until my match, no one from my country had won a gold medal and everybody was waiting for my gold medal match. The last point, there's a long rally and I can't remember [anything]. I don't remember what I did after the long rally," Ozturk said to Olympics.com with a proud smile.

He can recall one aspect though...

"I fell down. This is not normal!" - ABDULLAH OZTURK

Abdullah Ozturk: A win to remember

Ozturk is ranked number one in the world. He won his first Paralympic title at Rio 2016, coming back from a game down to win 3-1 against GUO Xingyuan of China.

“My team mates are very important to my success. We are a strong team in table tennis.”

Abdullah started playing table tennis seriously aged 15. Before then it was just a hobby.

"I have been playing table tennis nearly 15 years and this is my second Paralympic gold medal, I hope I will play in Paris 2024 and win a medal again. My aim is always high."

Abdullah Ozturk gold Tokyo
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Abdullah Ozturk: A message to the world

Ozturk nearly gave up the table tennis after a series of bad results left him feeling disappointed. But his coach, Illhami Kilinckaya, encouraged him to stick with the sport.

"He motivated us… We started a different training system and [he said that] I will be the world's best player… And now you see me!"

Ozturk gave a message of hope for others who are finding the current challenging circumstances across the globe difficult.

"I know these bad days will end. We will reach this day and we will continue with our happy lives. Until that day comes, we have to do what we have to do. The pandemic will end and life will be better."