Chinese athletes ruled the roost in 2021

Among the four Chinese athletes who have won more than three gold medals in Tokyo, Tan Shumei is the only athlete who has won all the matches that she competed in. 29 Dec 2021
Zheng Tao
Zheng Tao of China reacts after winning gold in the men's 40m Freestyle S5 final at Tokyo 2020.
ⒸAdam Pretty/Getty Images
By Zhen Ma | For the IPC

With 90 golds and 207 medals in total, China topped the medal table of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games for the fourth consecutive time. While 85 Chinese athletes became gold medallists in Tokyo, some of them stood out by winning multiple medals.

Zheng Tao

Zheng Tao dominated men’s Swimming S5 with wins in 50m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m butterfly, mixed 4x50m freestyle relay.

All of his individual victories have been World or Paralympic records.

His 50m freestyle win was also a landmark for China as it was their 500th Paralympic gold since their debut at the 1984 Games in New York City.

Tao, who lost his arms to an electric shock as a child, also set a World record in the 50m backstroke final with a time of 31.42s.

With this sensational showing, Tao swelled his medals tally at the Games to nine. On his debut at London 2012, he had claimed gold (100m backstroke S6) and two bronze (50m freestyle S6 and 200m individual medley SM6), while in Rio 2016 he defended his title in 100m backstroke and bagged a silver in 50m butterfly.

Lu Dong

Lu Dong was in her third Paralympic Games at Tokyo and she was on a mission to improve on her Rio 2016 showing where she failed to defend her 100m backstroke S5 title from London 2012 and had to settle for silver.

At Tokyo, of the five events Dong figured in she won in four - women’s 50m backstroke S5, 50m butterfly S5, 200m individual medley S5, mixed 4x50m freestyle relay S5.

She broke World records in two different class. In the 50m women’s butterfly S5 final, she broke the 40-second barrier clocking 39.54s; thus eclipsing the former World/Paralympic records of 40.51s set in 2008.

In her pet event, women’s 50m backstroke S5, Dong was through to the finish by nearly 6 seconds and set a new World record and also emerged as the female athlete who has won the most gold medals in the Chinese Paralympic Team. 

Wen Xiaoyan

Wen Xiaoyan set the Olympic Stadium tracks in Tokyo on fire with her dominant performances which saw her complete a hat-trick of golds.

The 23-year-old, who landed in Tokyo as the reigning Paralympic Champion in long jump and 4X100m relay, went on to retain her title in the long jump T37 along with 100m T37 and 200m T37 titles. 

In the 100m and 200m, she surged to the finish with record timings of  13:00s and 26.58s, respectively.

With this success, Xiaoyan swelled her medals tally at Paralympic Games to five gold and one silver.

She is now arguably one of the most talented female athletes in the short-distance track events and would be the one to beat at the Paris 2024 Games.

Tan Shumei

Tan Shumei was in a league of her own and everything that she touched turned into gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The 32-year-old Wheelchair Fencer, making her Paralympic debut in Class B won three golds in Épée Individual, Sabre Individual and Épée Team.

She was always a firm favourite going into Tokyo having proved her credentials in the 2019 World Championships in Cheongju, Korea where she swept four titles on her debut. Such was her dominance that from 25 to 27 August, Shumei competed in 23 matches of three different events, and won them all. She won one gold medal in each of these three days.

Among the four Chinese athletes who have won more than three gold medals in Tokyo, Shumei is the only athlete who has won all the matches that she competed in.