China strengthened their stranglehold on the 2016 Paralympics medal table on Sunday (11 September) with a string of successes across multiple sports.
Gold-medal wins in athletics, swimming, shooting and archery saw the Chinese team up their medal count to 92 after just four days of competition at Rio.
But one of the stories of the day came in the table tennis competition where 16-year-old Belgian Laurens Devos took gold in the men’s singles class 9 final.
The teenager beat Gerban Last of the Netherlands to clinch the title with a 3-0 (11-8, 11-7, 11-4) victory at Riocentro Pavilion 2.
“This is a surprise,” he admitted afterwards. “My goal was a medal, but it is a gold medal, so that’s better than a medal. I didn’t expect to win again 3-0, but yeah, I did it.”
China’s medal haul includes a staggering 39 golds, plus 30 silvers and 23 bronzes. Great Britain remain second in the table with 56 medals, including 23 golds.
China have now won a total of 23 track and field medals, including the latest gold picked up by Hongzhuan Zhou when she set a new world record time in the women’s 400m T53.
Her success was one of the stand-out stories of the day at the Olympic Stadium where, earlier in the day, Brazil’s teenage sensation Petrucio Ferreira dos Santos had got the home crowd roaring as he smashed the world record to take gold in the men’s 100m T47.
The 19-year-old, who only took up Para athletics two years ago, saw off a talented field including two-time world champion Michal Derus as well as his Brazilian teammate Yohansson Nascimento.
There was also a world record for Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova, who smashed the time she set in the 100m T13 semi-finals to clinch her first Paralympic title.
Ireland’s multiple world and Paralympic champion Michael McKillop added yet another gold medal to his collection as he took the win in the men’s 1,500m T37.
Meanwhile, the US’s Tatyana McFadden dedicated her first gold medal of the Games for her victory in the women’s 400m T54 to her country, on the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York.
The 27-year-old, who won silver in the 100m T54 on Friday (9 September), still has five events to go as she takes on all distances from 100m through to the marathon, including the 4x400m T54 relay.
“I love the 400m, it’s one of my favourite races, so no pressure,” she said. “Today I won with my heart. I ran for America. It’s September 11th so I ran for the folks back at home and thoughts and prayers for those affected. I honour my country today with a gold medal.
“I think the Brazilian fans helped. They are here to support us. That is the wonderful thing about Olympic and Paralympic Games – it is a community coming together.”
Chinese success continued in the shooting competition, where Xing Huang survived a tense P3 (mixed 25m pistol SH1) battle with Sweden’s “silver bullet” Joackim Norberg to claim his country’s third gold medal in four days.
And China were also victorious in the archery where they claimed the first ever mixed team recurve open Paralympic event gold medal following a four-set win over Iran in the final.
The Barra Olympic Park played host to another bumper crowd on Sunday, many of whom were packed into the Aquatics Centre where there was once again an electric atmosphere.
One of the most dramatic races of Sunday evening saw China’s Junsheng Li edge out home favourite Daniel Dias in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB4.
It appeared that Li had the gold all sown up until the last 25m when Brazilian world and Paralympic champion Daniel Dias staged a dramatic comeback, urged on by a vociferous crowd, only to fall millimetres short.
Elsewhere, Uzbekistan’s swimmers secure the country’s first ever Paralympic gold medals, including a world record for teenager Fotimakhon Amilova in the women’s 100m breaststroke SB13.
Uzbekistan’s other gold medallist was Firdavsbek Musabekov, who shared the top of the podium with Ukrainian Paralympic champion Oleksii Fedyna following a dramatic tie in the men’s 100m breaststroke SB13.
And there was a new world record in the women’s 200m individual medley SM10 for New Zealand’s world and Paralympic champion Sophie Pascoe, the eighth Paralympic title of her career.
It was the last day of action in the velodrome where the Netherlands’ Tristan Bangma won the men’s B 1,000m time trial.
Completing a great few days on the track for Great Britain, Lora Turnham and her pilot Corrine Hall took gold in the women’s B300m individual pursuit final, and Britain also triumphed in the Mixed C1-5 750m team sprint final. It took their total gold haul in the velodrome to eight.
At a sun-drenched Copacabana, teenager Grace Norman won the first women’s gold medal in Paralympic triathlon, seeing off the challenge from Great Britain’s Lauren Stadman in the PT4 race.
In the women’s PT2 world champion Allysa Seely of the USA took gold, whilst in the PT5 first place was secured by Australian Katie Kelly, who had gone undefeated in the sport since taking it up two years ago.
Great Britain dominated in the rowing competition at Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Rachel Morris took gold in the women’s single sculls, Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley were triumphant in the mixed double sculls, and Britain also won the mixed cox four competition.
In the other final of the day, gold in the men’s single sculls was claimed by Ukraine’s Roman Polianskyi, who led his race from start to finish.
The world record-breaking run continued in the powerlifting at the Riocentro Pavilion 2 with three more all-time best lifts set in the three events of the day.
Among the day’s champions was Nigeria’s Lucy Ejike who won her nation’s third powerlifting gold of the Games with an incredible clearance of 142kg in the women’s up to 61kg category.
Meanwhile, there were fireworks – literally – on the first day of competition in the dressage competition at the Olympic Equestrian Centre, where Norway’s Ann Cathrin Lubbe claimed the top spot in the grade III team test.
Lubbe’s victory was made even more impressive as it occurred during a period of competition which was regularly interrupted by bursts of fireworks from the neighbouring town.
Hosts Brazil secured their place in the semi-finals of the football 5-a-side competition with a 2-0 victory over Turkey. They will be joined there by Iran, Argentina and China following their victories on Sunday.
Brazil are also on course to progress in the men’s goalball competition – their 12-2 victory over Algeria on Sunday made it three wins out of three so far. There were also wins for China and the USA. In the women’s competition there were wins for the USA, Canada and Turkey.
In the wheelchair basketball there were wins in the women’s competition for Germany, USA, France and Great Britain, and in the men’s competition for Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, Brazil, USA and Japan.
And in the sitting volleyball competition, Egypt beat Brazil and Japan beat USA in the men’s competition. In the women’s competition, Brazil beat Ukraine and the Netherlands beat Canada.