Paddler wins first gold as Chinese delegation dominates medal table

Chinese paddler Xie Maosan claimed the first gold medal of the Hangzhou Asian Para Games in East China's Zhejiang Province as the Chinese delegation pulled off strong performances to dominate the medal table on the opening day.

Xie claimed the gold medal in the Women's KL1 canoe final on Monday morning at the Fuyang Water Sports Center, which is also the first gold of the Hangzhou Para Games.

Xie, a tailor-turned-athlete, told the Global Times after the match that sports boosted her confidence and changed her life. 

"As one of 85 million people with disabilities in China, I want to tell them to go out of their homes and explore the world. You can also fight for laurels for China like I did," said Xie. 

"I hope I can have the national flag raised again at the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games."

After watching a dance performance delivered by people with disabilities at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Xie set her sights on showcasing her athleticism on a big stage, and canoeing offer her a perfect opportunity. 

Despite serious back injuries, the 37-year-old has been sticking to a rigorous training regime that sees her spending six hours a day on the water.

"Being in a canoe made me feel like I was reborn. When I paddle on the water, I feel like an able-bodied person as I can go to anywhere I want. Canoeing gave me a new life," Xie noted. "Life is about moving forward against the odds, surpassing yourself, and challenging yourself."

In athletics, Shi Yiting broke the world record to win gold at the women's 200m -T36 final with a time of 28.17 seconds at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium. Her compatriot Li Sishuang finished the race with a bronze.

"I'm really satisfied, for I pulled out my best performance. Because of the discomfort in my feet, my training intensity was not hight. However, I finally rose above myself at this home competition," Shi said.

"I love you all; my dad, my coach, teammates, and staff who have always been helping me," Shi noted.

Di Dongdong and Ye Tao won gold and silver medals in the men's Long Jump-T11.

Meanwhile, powerlifter Guo Lingling also set a new world record of 123 kilograms in the women's 41kg final. 

As of Monday, China topped the medal table with 31 golds, 29 silvers and 23 bronzes, followed by Iran and Uzbekistan in second and third places. 

Athletics, swimming, table tennis, weightlifting, wheelchair fencing, badminton, cycling and archery are some of the events in which China excels.

The Chinese delegation topped the Para Games medal table three times with 185 gold medals in Guangzhou in 2010, followed by 174 in Incheon, South Korea in 2014 and 172 in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018.

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