China leads medal tally at Tokyo Paralympics


China pocketed three gold medals from powerlifting, wheelchair fencing and swimming at the Tokyo Paralympics on Thursday to overtake Australia on the top of the medal tally. China have eight gold while Britain, Russian Paralympic Committee and Australia have six gold medals each.

Chinese powerlifter Guo Lingling dominated the women’s 41kg event in her Paralympic debut. After lifting up 105kg to break the Paralympic record of 104kg in her first attempt, the only question remaining for the rest of the competition was what else she might accomplish.

In her fourth attempt, which didn’t count for this match according to Paralympic rules, the 32-year-old created a fresh world record of 109kg to beat her world mark of 108kg set up in her third attempt.

“I have prepared for two years for the Tokyo Paralympics, and winning a Paralympic gold medal has been my dream,” Guo said. “I feel elated to be able to make my dream come true.”

In the women’s 45kg category, Chinese veteran Cui Zhe, who is competing in her fourth Paralympics, took the silver. Latifat Tijani of Nigeria claimed the gold.

Meanwhile at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, Team China — comprising Yuan Weiyi, Lu Dong, Zhang Li and Zheng Tao — won the mixed 4x50m

freestyle-20 points after breaking the world record in two minutes and 15.49 seconds.

“For me, the medal isn’t the most important thing. What’s more important is improving on what you’ve done before,” Yuan said.

“Even though I didn’t win a medal in my first event (men’s 100m freestyle S5), this gold medal is quite unexpected, so I’m quite happy about it.”

The Chinese wheelchair fencers added one gold, one silver and two bronze, as Tan Shumei beat Viktoria Boykova of the Russian Paralympic Committee 3-0 in the women’s epee individual category B, while Rong Jing and Bian Jing took the silver and bronze in the women’s epee individual category A.

“I want to thank my coaches and my teammates,” Tan said. “Everyone has contributed to today’s victory.”

Li Zhangyu and Liang Guihua added two bronze medals in the men’s C1 3,000m individual pursuit and the men’s C2 3,000m individual pursuit in cycling track respectively.

Both the men’s and women’s goalball teams lost in their opening matches, as the men’s side was smashed by Belgium 10-3 and the women’s side was beaten by the Russian Paralympic Committee 4-3.