The first team medal of Beijing 2022 will be decided on Friday (12 March) in Wheelchair Curling at the end of a busy day at the Water Cube. The semi-finals will get underway mid-afternoon and the losers will have to regroup in time for the bronze medal match in the evening.
Para Ice Hockey also moves further towards the business end with both semi-finals deciding who will play for gold on Saturday (13 March).
Para Alpine Skiing
The women get their turn in giant slalom on Friday, following on from an exceptional men’s competition from the previous day.
Alpine skiing heavyweights Austria have produced yet another new medal hope in the form of Barbara Aigner in the women’s vision impaired. At January’s World Championships, Aigner won her first world title with guide Klara Sykora.
In doing so Aigner beat Slovakia’s Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova into second.
However it is Farkasova with guide Martyn Motyka who has been the in-form skier so far, including a win from the super-combined when fans got a first glimpse at the technical events.
Farkasova and Motyka have partnered perfectly so far at Beijing 2022. Ⓒ Getty Images
In the women's standing the golds have been shared between China's Zhang Mengqui, Canada's Mollie Jepsen and Sweden's Ebba Aasrjoe, the winner from the super-combined. But France's Marie Bochet, having failed to defend any of her titles so far in the competition, will try to make an impact once again.
In the women’s sitting Japanese veteran Momoka Muraoka returns as the defending title-holder in the giant slalom.
Flying the flag for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics hosts, Muraoka left PyeongChang as one of Japan’s most successful athletes with a podium finish from all five disciplines. At Beijing 2022 Muraoka has won two consecutive golds in the downhill and super-G, and finished with silver in the super-combined. That title went to German Anna-Lena Forster.
Also contributing to a competitive field, the USA’s Laurie Stephens took the giant slalom gold at the recent World Championships. Stephens herself is hoping for a return to the top of the podium for the first time since Torino 2006.
The sun will set on Para biathlon at Beijing 2022 on Friday but not before six more champions are crowned in the Individual races.
Ukraine sit atop the sport's medals table with a stunning five golds. That includes two podium sweeps in the men's vision impaired, led by Vitalii Lukianenko and guide Borys Babar. The team filled the podium in the women's middle distance standing, too, headed by Iryna Bui who aims to defend her Individual title in Beijing.
In the women's vision impaired Oksana Shyshkova, guided by Andriy Marchenko, were the victors in the sprint whilst Germany's Leonie Maria Walter and guide Pirmin Strecker took the win in the middle distance.
Ukraine have been the stand-put performers in Para Biathlon. Ⓒ Getty Images
China are second with three golds courtesy of Liu Mengtao from the men's sitting, Liu Zixu from the women's sitting and Guo Yujie in the women's standing.
US skiers Kendell Gretsch and Oksana Masters are not to be discounted in the women's sitting with one gold each, Gretsch being the reigning world champion in this event.
With defending champion Gurimu Narita of Japan not competing at Beijing 2022, there is a vacancy in the men’s SB-LL2.
The USA’s Zach Miller will try to fill it as the reigning world champion. His main challengers include Australia’s Ben Tudhope, who has just registered his best ever Worlds performance with bronze from both the banked slalom and snowboard-cross.
The USA have strong contenders in all other classifications including Noah Elliott, who is the defending Paralympic and world title holder.
Mike Minor will try to retain his gold medal from PyeongChang 2018 in the men’s SB-UL. France’s Maxime Montaggioni however is not likely to let Minor win easily as the new world champion. Japan’s Masataka Oiwane just missed out on the podium at the World Championships and could also feature.
China will be hoping to add to their historic first Para Snowboard gold won in the snowboard-cross men's SB-UL. Ji Lijia led a Big Final field made up entirely of his teammates on Monday.
A gold for Bunschoten would be memorable for many reasons. Ⓒ Gisle Johnsen/Flickr
In the women’s SB-LL2 Dutch rider Lisa Bunschoten will continue the legacy of her mentor Bibian Mentel Spee, who passed away in 2021. Bunschoten is now the world champion and will try to win the Paralympic gold which Mentel Spee won at PyeongChang 2018.
Para Ice Hockey
It is a big day for China as they take to the ice dreaming of a huge upset in their first Paralympic semi-final, against the USA.
The North America side have won every single title since Vancouver 2010, and have not missed the podium since Salt Lake City 2002.
China have been the surprise package of the competition so far however, entering the clash unbeaten in all four of their group games.
China have been unstoppable so far at Beijing 2022. Ⓒ OIS Photos
PyeongChang 2018 silver medallists Canada are aiming for the fourth Paralympic final, and second title. They will take on South Korea, the shock bronze medallists from four years ago, in the day's other semi-final. The game will be a replay of the same stage at the last Paralympics from which Canada emerged the victors.
Italy will face Czech Republic in the fifth-place play-off.
Curlers will have to have their wits about them once again on Friday as the semi-finals and bronze medal match fill the schedule.
Having come-back from a difficult start after losing their opening two games, defending champions China went unbeaten in eight games to secure their place at the top of the standings at the end of the round robin stage.
Their semi-final opponents, Canada, are three-time gold medallists and secured their place in the semis with seven wins.
The game is a repeat of the same point in 2018 where Canada notoriously knocked China out of gold medal contention. But when the two sides faced each other on the opening day of competition in Beijing, it was Canada who were the victors.
Canada are holding on to their hopes of curling glory. Ⓒ Getty Images
Sweden and Slovakia head into their semi-final buoyant after reaching their own milestones. For Sweden, they have reached the knock-out stage for the first time since they won bronze in 2010 whilst Slovakia are enjoying their best ever run.
Whichever teams lose their semi-finals will have to regroup quickly in time for the bronze medal game on Friday evening.