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Gold star performances in Rio
2016-09-23, SUN XIAOCHEN and CHEN MENGWEI

Chinese athletes continued their dominance at the 2016 Paralympic Games, which came to a close on Sept 18 in Rio de Janeiro.

By the end of Sept 17 in Brazil, China had won a total of 237 medals, including 105 gold, compared with the second-place United Kingdom’s total of 147 medals, including 64 gold.

The 11-day competition was the fourth consecutive time China has dominated the medal standings at the Summer Paralympics since Athens in 2004.

Female veteran athlete Yao Juan broke her own world record to win gold in a discus category for those with muscle impairment after throwing 44.53 meters. It was her fourth gold medal spread over four Paralympic Games, including shot put gold at London 2012 and gold in javelin at Beijing 2008 and Sydney 2000.

“If I hadn’t started para-sport training in 1998, I wouldn’t have been able to carry myself through life’s adversities, not to mention traveling around the world and winning glory for my country,” said Yao, who lost muscle power in her left leg due to polio.

Chinese swimmer Xu Qing, who lost both arms in a car accident at age 6, won three gold medals in Rio, in the 50m butterfly, 50m freestyle and mixed 4-by-50m freestyle in his category. He has now earned 10 career gold medals.

Updates on the Chinese athletes’ victories and photos posted on Chinese social networks attracted thousands of likes and positive comments.

Some 4,350 athletes from 160 countries and regions competed at the Paralympics.

The 308 Chinese athletes who competed in 17 out of 22 sports not only inspired the world with their performances, but their presence also spoke loudly of their country’s commitment to promoting equality for the disabled in sports.

Fifty-seven of these athletes are categorized as severely disabled. 

Zhang Haidi, head of the Chinese delegation, hailed the Chinese athletes’ outstanding performances as a special inspiration for people with disabilities.

“A lot of disabled people struggle in life because of physical impairment and poverty, and our athletes competing in Rio had hope that everything is possible if their hearts said no to limitations,” Zhang was quoted as saying by China National Radio.

The athletes’ will to succeed at the Paralympic Games also has spurred improvements in facilities, guidance and accessibility at the regional level in China. This makes it easier for disabled people to participate in sports for fun, overall health and rehabilitation, said Hua Qingpang, a former official with China’s National Paralympic Committee.

“The increase in coaches, physical trainers and support staff dedicated to these athletes at the grassroots level has helped more disabled people with athletic talent and passion train more scientifically,” he told Xinhua News Agency.

According to the sports department of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, the country had trained more than 42,100 fitness instructors for the disabled and had built 225 provincial and 34 national specialized sports training centers by 2016. 

The State Council has given its approval for the 10th National Games of Disabled Persons to be held right after the 13th National Games in Tianjin next year, marking the first time the two events will be held consecutively at one place, to highlight equality in sports participation.

 

Contact the writers at sunxiaochen@chinadaily.com.cn


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