“I will present this medal to my family and I promise that I will be a Paralympic champion in the future."
China enjoyed a golden day of para-athletics at the IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Thursday (10 March), winning six gold medals.
That success meant China move up to second on the medals table behind Iran, who notched up a further five titles on the fourth day of competition.
Paralympic bronze medallist Juntingxian Jia kicked off China’s gold medal rush as she held off her teammate Yan Chen to win the 100m T11 in 12.54.
“I feel really good. Our goal is the Paralympic Games, and I am quite confident that we will do even better than in 2012,” said Jia, who won 200m T11 bronze at London 2012 four years ago.
There was gold too for China’s Daqing Zhu in the women’s 100m T12 in a time of 12.48.
Zhu, who won 200m T12 bronze at London 2012, recently returned to the track after the birth of her daughter and knows that she is capable of going even faster.
“I’ve just returned to training after giving birth and I’m not physically fit at the moment - my guide runner and I only started training two months ago,” she explained.
“I plan to get fitter with training after these Championships and I hope to have a breakthrough in my performance. I’m loving the challenge even more.”
Wei Liu stormed home to win the men’s 100m T13 in 11.22 – just 0.03 seconds outside the Asian record, and Beijing 2008 champion Zhang Zhen topped the podium in the men’s 1,500m T11 crossing the line in 4:17.97.
China secured two victories in the field too.
Paralympic and world champion Liangmin Zhang (F11) took gold in the women’s discus F11/12. Her second round best of 36.88m was enough to take the win – although she knows she is capable of more.
“I’m not happy with how things went today, but it was an important part of my preparations towards Rio this year,” Zhang said. “We are in the middle of winter training right now so I am not quite ready. I know I can throw a lot further than this.”
Her compatriot Dongquan An (F38) won the men’s javelin F37/38 with a best of 44.88m (908 points).
The UAE’s Salem Alshehhi clinched double sprint gold at Dubai 2016 adding a convincing win in the 200m T54 to his 100m victory from Tuesday, as he stopped the clock at 27.06 - his compatriot Rashed Aldhaheri and Japan’s Yuki Nishi had to make do with silver and bronze respectively once again.
It was a much closer contest in the women’s 200m T54 as Japan’s Keiko Konishi (T53) also added to her 100m T54 Championship gold with a win over the longer sprint, clocking 35.47.
She had to work hard to earn it, racing neck and neck with Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Lien Chen before finally pulling clear just before the line.
Hong Kong, China’s Kwok Fan Yam made it two wins out of two as she led from the gun in the women’s 200m T36, finishing in 35.13.
It was double gold for Iran’s Ahmad Ojaghlou who quickly took control of the 100m T47, powering home in 11.09 – just 0.04 seconds outside of the Asian record.
Iran secured another sprint gold on the track courtesy of Arash Khosravi who took the 100m T11 title in a thrillingly tight finish, clocking 11.96. Japan’s Masaaki Konishi sprinted home to win the 100m T12, clocking 11.70.
Local star Mohamed Hammadi made it a golden hat trick in Dubai as he cruised to a comfortable win in the men’s 400m T34, finishing in 54.76.
Iraq’s Abbas Al-Darraji maintained his early lead in the men’s 400m T36/38, racing clear on the back straight and maintaining a significant lead right to the line in 53.87.
Saudi Arabia’s Saud Alwani was rewarded for his terrific late charge in the men’s 400m T37, catching Thailand’s Sakphet Saewang down the home straight and throwing himself at the line to take the gold in 1:01.10.
“I will present this medal to my family and I promise that I will be a Paralympic champion in the future. I have only been racing less than one year,” said the 18-year-old.
Kuwait’s Hamad Aladwani came through in the closing stages to take gold in the men’s 200m T53. The former 400m T53 Paralympic champion clocked 28.09 to take the title ahead of Saudia Arabia’s Fahad Alganaidl.
The men’s 4x100m T42-47 was won by Sri Lanka in 45.42.
Iran picked up three medals in the field on Thursday - Mehdi Alizadeh (F33) came from behind to win the men’s shot put F32/33 as early leader Hani Alnakhli (F33) had to settle for second place.
Alnakhli led right up until the sixth and final round when Alizadeh threw a massive 8.95m – adding 10 centimetres on to his rival’s best mark.
Hamed Amiri (F54) won the men’s discus F54-56 – his second gold so far at Dubai 2016. The 33-year-old threw 29.69m (949 points) to get the better of Incheon 2014 silver medallist Parviz Golpasandhagh.
Nour Mhammad Arekhi helped cement his country’s place at the top of the leader board, winning gold in the men’s shot put F11/12 in convincing style with a best of 11.50m (838 points).
Gold in the women’s javelin F53/54 went to India’s Asian record holder Deepa Malik (F53) with a best of 8.98m.
Vietnam’s Ngoc Hung Cao improved on his discus silver medal from Tuesday to take gold in the javelin F57, thanks to a second throw of 41.64m.
Indonesia’s Priyano Priyano won the men’s discus F46 with a fifth round effort of 42.39m – just 44 centimetres clear of the rest of the field, while Pakistan picked up their first gold medal of the Championships thanks to a winning leap of 6.25m (983 points) by Haider Ali (T37) in the men’s long jump T36-38.
Results are available at IPC Ahletic's website alongside live coverage.
Competition continues on Friday (11 March) at the Dubai Police Officer’s Club stadium.