Team China continues leading Paralympic medal tally
Published: Mar 07, 2022 08:20 PM
Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

China continued leading the medal tally on Monday, winning another nine medals at an astonishing speed including one gold and four slivers on the third competition day of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics. 

Team China celebrated the moment when Chinese athletes Ji Lijia, Wang Pengyao and Zhu Yonggang made a clean sweep by respectively bagging the gold, silver and bronze medals in the men's snowboard cross SB-UL big final. This is the first time that the Chinese team has won all three medals in a single event in the history of the Winter Paralympics.

"I did not expect to get this gold medal. I'm very excited. It still feels like a dream… Six years of effort finally paid off today. It is so great to win glory for my motherland, which takes great care of the disabled," the 19-year-old champion Ji told the Xinhua News Agency.

According to media reports, the three under-20 athletes from North China's Hebei Province already had several wins under their belts from various competitions prior to their Paralympic debut.

Ji, who lost his left forearm in an accident when he was 5 years old, won gold in the men's snowboard cross SB-UL at the World Para Snowboard Championships in Pyha, Finland in 2019. 

He shot to fame after claiming the top position in the global rankings in January 2020. He also dominated the World Para Snowboard Rankings for 14 months, from January 2020 till February 2021, CGTN reported.

Chinese athlete Wu Zhongwei, won a bronze medal in the men's snowboard Cross SB-LL1.

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Meanwhile, Chinese athletes Cai Jiayun and Qiu Mingyang bagged one silver and one bronze respectively in the men's long distance classical technique standing.

During the competition, Cai held onto first place for a while, but was overtaken by Taiki Kawayoke, Japan's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games. Kawayoke finished the race in first with a time of 52 minutes and 52.8 seconds, while Cai came in at 54 minutes and 27.7 seconds, and Qiu at 54 minutes and 29.7 seconds.

Team China's female athletes also saw excellent results in para alpine skiing. After previously earning a silver and a bronze, Chin's Zhu Daqing added another silver medal to her collection in the women's super combined vision impaired on Monday.

Zhu Daqing, 32, was born in North China's Hebei Province. A serious eye disease in childhood left her with a visual acuity of only 10 centimeters, the Beijing Daily reported. 

Asked about the secret to her success, Zhu Daqing said, "First, you need to be speedy, though it feels really icy when skiing. Then, the most important thing is to trust your guide."

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

According to the rules, in para alpine skiing, athletes with vision impairment need to ski with a guide. The guide skis in front of the athlete and verbally gives directions to the athlete. Zhu Daqing's guide Yan Hanhan, who has a congenital right arm disability, is also a competitor in the men's para alpine skiing event.

"Yan is the one who leads me. I was able to achieve good results all because of him," Zhu Daqing said.

Chinese Paralympian Zhang Mengqiu got an early gift two days before her 20th birthday, taking second place in the women's super combined standing on Monday. 

Zhang, an athlete with cerebral palsy who is also from Hebei, is no stranger to winning. Since the start of the Games, Zhang has already pocketed one gold and two silver medals.

Apart from Zhu Daqing and Zhang, Chinese athlete Liu Sitong also obtained a medal on Monday by ranking in at No.3 in the women's super combined sitting.

Liu, who lost her leg at the age of 4 due to a car accident, has won 30 medals, 15 of them gold, at various international and domestic competitions since she became a para-athlete at age 14.