Similar as the London Olympics, China took the Paralympic Games’ first title and topped the medal table with six gold, six silver and three bronze medals on Thursday, the first matchday of the London Paralympics.
Chinese shooter Zhang Cuiping pocketed the Games’ first gold in the women’s R2-10m air rifle standing with 500.9 points and broke the 10-year-old world record of 499.3 points kept by South Korean Kim Im-Yeon.
Zhang, 25, who became a national team member in 2006 and collected two silver medals at the Beijing Paralympics, fulfilled her gold dream in London 2012. She started her shooting practise about nine years ago, despite suffering spinal cord injuries when she was three years old.
Zhang’s coach Wang Ping told Xinhua, “Zhang is a veteran, but she trains very hard. She has a great mental strength. In a sense, she was born to be a shooter.”
“I even didn’t want to put down my rifle after the 10th shot in the final. I want to enjoy that moment,” said Zhang after the final.
“I just showed my normal form. During my regular training, I could make one or two points more.”
The first London Olympics gold medal was also taken by a Chinese female shooter named Yi Siling. Zhang watched live broadcast a month ago and appraised Yi as an “inspirational idol”.
China’s other five gold medals came from cyclist Li Zhangyu in men’s individual C1 1km time trial, cyclist Zeng Sini in women’s individual C2 pursuit, swimmer Lu Dong in women’s 100m backstroke S6, swimmer Du Jianping in men’s 50m breaststroke SB2, and swimmer Zheng Tao in men’s 100m backstroke S6.
On the medal table, China was followed by Australia with three gold, three silver and three bronze medals, hosts Britain 2-3-2, Ukraine 2-2-4, Germany 2-2-2, Russia 2-1-1, the United States 1-1- 4 and Brazil 1-1-1.
Other teams taking one gold include Canada, Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Azerbaijian, France, Hungary, Nigeria and South Africa.
A total of 11 world records were refreshed Thursday.