Day 1 Summary: Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games

Golden start for China, Japan’s Momoka off to a flying start.

China showed that they mean business winning eight medals on the first day of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games. Having only ever won one medal at a Winter Paralympic Games prior to these games, this demonstrates the country’s serious commitment to para-sport.

Their first medal was won by Daqing ZHU in the Women’s Downhill VI, the opening race at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. The 32-year-old won Silver behind nine-time Paralympic Gold medallist Slovakia’s Henrieta FARKASOVA. ZHU only took up the sport in 2019 but she is no stranger to competing at the highest level having won Bronze at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in Para Athletics.

China got their second medal in the very next race when Mengqiu ZHANG claimed Silver in the Women’s Downhill Standing. The 19-year-old was only 0.10 seconds off the winning Gold medal time and this will give her confidence for her remaining races.

China’s Sitong LIU also won a Bronze medal in the third race of the day, the Women’s Downhill Sitting but it was Japan’s Momoka MURAOKA who took Gold in this race, improving on her PyeongChang Silver medal in the same event.

Then it was the men’s turn. Japanese legend Taiki MORII claimed the only medal for the Asian nations on the slopes today when he won Bronze in the Men’s Downhill Sitting event. This means that he has medalled at every Paralympic Games since 2006 which is a remarkable achievement.  

Over at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre, China were in the medals again. Yilin SHAN won Silver in the Women’s Sprint Sitting before Zixu LIU claimed the first Gold medal for China in the Men’s event with fellow countryman Mengtao LIU picking up Bronze.

A second Gold for China followed in the Women’s Sprint Standing event when Yujie GUO finished in first place, with another third place for China claimed by Zhiqing ZHAO.

This was China’s eighth medal of the day and meant that they lie on second place on the medal table after the first day of competition.

Elsewhere, China’s Wheelchair Curling team started their defence of their PyeongChang Gold medal and had a tough draw, facing Canada, who had won Gold at every other Games apart from PyeongChang. They were 2-1 up after three ends but the match swung in the fourth, with Canada taking three to open up a 4-2 lead. China struggled to close the gap and the match ended China 3–7 Canada. This is the round robin stage of the tournament and there is plenty of time left for China to make amends. Tomorrow they will play twice, facing Sweden and Estonia. Korea also started their hunt for a medal, facing Latvia. In a tight game, Latvia ended up the eventual winners winning 8-4.

In the Para Ice Hockey, host nation China made their Paralympic Games debut and faced Slovakia, who were also making their debut. China took the lead in the first period and were 3-0 up at half time. They extended the lead to win it 7-0.

Tomorrow will see medals awarded in the Super G events in Para Alpine Skiing and the first Para Cross Country Skiing medals in the Long Distance events.

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