Paralympics: China hits century of gold medals

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 18 (IANS) China became only the third country to win more than 100 gold medals at a single edition of the Paralympic Games, celebrating nine more victories in Rio.

Seven of those on Saturday came in athletics with two each in table tennis and swimming as China ended the day with 105 gold, 81 silver and 51 bronze medals, reports Xinhua.

The United States and Britain are the only other nations to achieve a century of gold medals at a single Paralympics. Both did so at the 1984 Games in New York, when the US claimed 136 victories and Britain 107.

Five of China’s track and field gold medals on Saturday — the penultimate day of competition — were achieved with world record performances.

Zheng Jin smashed her own mark to win gold in the 1,500 metres T11 final. The 25-year-old crossed the line in four minutes 38.92 seconds at the Olympic Stadium, beating her previous record of 4:44.06 set in 2014.

Kenya’s Nancy Koech took silver in 4:42.12 and Colombia’s Maritza Arango Buitrago bronze in 4:45.33.

Mi Na also broke her own world record to win gold in the discus F38. The 30-year-old threw 37.60 metres to eclipse the previous benchmark of 35.35m she set at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Brazil’s Shirlene Coelho took silver with a best effort of 33.91m and Ireland’s Noelle Lenihan claimed bronze with 31.71m.

Mi, who was born with cerebral palsy, has also won silver in both the javelin F37 and shot put F37 at the Rio Games.

Zhou Hongzhuan set a new world record to win gold in the women’s 800m T53. The 27-year-old crossed the line in one minute 47.45 seconds to beat the previous mark set by Australian Angela Ballard last year by three hundredths of a second.

Australia’s Madison de Rozario claimed silver in 1:47.64 and Shirley Reilly of the United States took bronze with 1:47.77. Ballard crossed the line fourth in 1:47.97.

It was Zhou’s third gold medal of the Rio Games after her successes in the 4x400m T53/54 and the Women’s 400m — T53.

Likewise, Zhou Xia broke the world record to win gold in the women’s 200m T35. The 17-year-old finished in 28.22 seconds, eight hundredths of a second quicker than the previous benchmark set by Australian Isis Holt in April. Holt took silver here with a time of 28.79. Britain’s Maria Lyle grabbed bronze in 29.35.

The victory was Zhou’s second gold medal of the Rio Games following her triumph in the 100m T35 on Wednesday.

In the men’s 4x400m relay T53/54, China’s Cui Yanfeng, Liu Yang, Li Huzhao and Liu Chengming clocked 3 minutes 3.12 seconds to eclipse their own previous world record of 3:04.77.

Thailand took silver in 3:05.32 and South Korea bronze in 3:08.77.

Dong Feixia defeated Germany’s Marianne Buggenhagen to win gold in the women’s discus F55 final. The 27-year-old recorded a season’s best throw of 25.05 meters to beat Buggenhagen by 0.53m. Latvia’s Diana Dadzite claimed bronze with 22.66m.

“I’ve been waiting eight years for this, I’m very excited,” said Dong, who finished fourth in the event at the Beijing Games.

Wu Guoshan recorded his longest throw of the year to win the men’s shot put F57. The 33-year-old threw 14.42 meters to beat Poland’s Janusz Rokicki by 0.16m. Iran’s Javid Ehsani Shakib claimed bronze with 14.13m.

Wu also competed at the London 2012 Games, where he finished fifth.

China beat Spain 2-1 to claim gold in the table tennis class 9-10 team event. Ma Lin and Lian Hao won the opening doubles match 3-2 against Jose Manuel Ruiz Reyes and Jorge Cardona Marquez before Ruiz Reyes overcame Ma 3-1 in the first singles match.

Lian then closed out the tie for China by defeating Juan Bautista Perez Gonzalez 3-0.

China’s other table tennis gold medal on Saturday came in the women’s table tennis team classes 4-5 event. Zhang Bian and Gu Gai beat Serbia’s Borislava Peric-Rankovic and Nada Matic 3-0 (11-9, 11-2, 11-9) in the opening doubles match before Zhang overcame Peric-Rankovic 3-0 (11-9, 11-6, 11-7) in their singles duel.

China fell less than half a second short of the world record as they took gold in the men’s 4x100m medley 34 points. Zhou Cong, Lin Furong, Song Maodang and Wang Yinan clocked four minutes 6.44 seconds, just 0.35sec slower than the record mark set by Russia in last year. Ukraine took silver in 4:07.89 and Brazil bronze in 4:17.51.

Zhang Li secured her third gold medal here by winning the 100m freestyle S5 final. The 18-year-old clocked one minute 18.85 seconds to beat Spanish world record holder Teresa Perales by 1.62sec at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Brazil’s Joana Maria Silva grabbed bronze in 1:23.21.

Zhang also claimed gold in the 200m freestyle S5 and 50m freestyle S5 in Rio.

–IANS

pur/vt

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