Wang Haitao of China celebrates after winning the wheelchair curling gold at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, on March 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Keren)
China defended its wheelchair title and secured its leading position with 18 golds on the medal tally on the penultimate day of Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- China's wheelchair curling team successfully defended its crown by beating Sweden here on Saturday as the Chinese delegation added four gold medals at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
With five golds up for grabs on the final competition day on Sunday, China has secured its leading position on the medal tally with a total of 59 medals, including 18 golds, followed by Ukraine with 10 golds and Canada with eight.
China's wheelchair curling team, skipped by Wang Haitao, trailed 2-1 after four ends, but scored four points in the fifth end as a turning point in the final. Sweden only added one point from the sixth end. After China scored three more points in the seventh end, the Swedish then conceded the defeat with friendly handshakes with the host players.
Wang was also a member of the winning team that awarded China its first ever Paralympic gold at PyeongChang 2018. However, he said this time the gold is "a lot heavier" and more meaningful.
"Four years ago, I don't think we had any pressure to win the championship. But now we are playing on home ice and we want to win this precious gold medal in particular," Wang added.
Yan Zhuo (C, front) of China competes in the wheelchair curling gold medal match against Sweden at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, on March 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Zhang Bowen)
Para skier Wang Chenyang won gold for host China in Para cross-country skiing men's middle distance free technique standing. Benjamin Daviet of France took the silver. Wang's teammate Cai Jiayun came the third.
His teammate Yang Hongqiong clinched the Para cross-country skiing women's middle distance sitting gold. This is Yang's third Paralympic gold after long distance and sprint sitting. The 32-year-old Paralympic debutant has become the first Chinese Para skier to collect three gold medals at a single Games.
Also in Para cross-country, Mao Zhongwu of China notched the men's middle distance sitting gold. It's also the third medal for 35-year-old Mao at the tournament after placing second twice in both sprint and long-distance sitting events.
"I raced with 100% effort today. So happy to win this gold medal. This medal is so precious to me; it means so much for my professional career," said Mao, who was also competing in his first Paralympics.
Mao Zhongwu of China competes in the Para cross-country skiing men's middle distance sitting final of Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics in Zhangjiakou, north China's Hebei Province, March 12, 2022. (Xinhua/Hu Huhu)
Elsewhere on Saturday, Canada's Brian McKeever raced into the history books after grabbing his 16th gold, equalling the total gold medal record of German Gerd Schonfelder for the most decorated men's Paralympian.
McKeever won the visually impaired middle distance event after he has already bagged two titles in sprint and long-distance events this week.
With three gold medals pocketed in Chongli, the 42-year-old has accumulated a total of 16 golds spanning six Paralympics since 2002 all from Para cross country, obtaining two twice from Salt Lake City 2002 and Turin 2006, and adding three more each time from 2010 to 2018.
At the National Indoor Stadium, China's Para ice hockey team cruised to a 4-0 win over South Korea for a bronze, which was the host's first medal in the sport. ■