Font size bigger Font size smaller
INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
Imagen
Tao Zheng of China

Tao Zheng

Swimming
2
2
2

Winning his first major regional medals at the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China, with a silver and bronze medal, S6 swimmer Tao Zheng has been on an upward curve ever since.

As one of the most successful Para swimmers in China, Tao came to swimming after being talent spotted by a local sports association.

It was not until he Paralympic debut at London 2012 that his profile began to grow. As a result of an electric shock as a child, he lost both arms. In the pool, this of course means that he can only propel himself using his legs. And so the image of a young athlete swimming without arms became one of the most popular moments of London 2012 and captured the imagination of millions.

Not only that, Zheng had broken the 100m backstroke S6 world record to claim the gold.

After winning a total of four medals he was awarded the highest honour for young people in China - the 4 May Award. He was also named as one of the top ten personalities of the Yunnan Province in his home country.

In 2013, he continued his great form by winning his favourite 100m backstroke event and also the 50m butterfly against his rival and seven time Paralympic champion teammate Qing Xu.

He retained his 100m backstroke world title in 2015 at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, breaking the world record once again, and took home an additional gold and silver medal.

By the Rio 2016 Paralympics, Zheng had gained another Chinese rival in addition to Xu. In the heats of his best event, Zheng was stunned by teammate Hongguang Jia who lowered the world record set by Zheng at London 2012. But Zheng had played it safe with his swim, safely advancing to the final, whilst Jia had to recover from a hot heat.

The head-to-head saw Zheng power to gold with a time more than 1.5 seconds faster than Jia's world record from the heats. He had repeated his iconic performance from four years previously, delivering the crowds a memorable race once again.

Zheng has vowed to fall back in love with swimming in 2017 and if that includes winning golds, he will get his next chance at the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City from 30 September where he will defend two titles.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
S6, SB7, SM6

Further personal information

Residence
Kunming, CHN
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Mandarin

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport in 2004 in Kunming, People's Republic of China.
Why this sport?
He was scouted by coach Zhang Honghu.
Club / Team
Yunnan Province: China
Name of coach
Li Mengzhong [national], CHN

International debut

Year
2010
Competing for
China
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Eindhoven, NED

General interest

Hobbies
Listening to music. (yn.yunnan.cn, 10 Sep 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal in the S6 100m backstroke at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (paralympic.org, 28 Dec 2016)
Most influential person in career
His mother. (Athlete, 11 Jul 2015)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps. (Athlete, 11 Jul 2015)
Injuries
He competed at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro while suffering from a lower back injury and a bout of stomach flu. (paralympic.org, 28 Dec 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Higher, faster, stronger." (Athlete, 11 Jul 2015)
Awards and honours
In 2012 he was named one of the Top 10 Personalities of Yunnan, People's Republic of China. (yunnan.cn, 01 Jan 2013)

He has received the May 4th Youth Medal in People's Republic of China. (gov.cn, 12 Sep 2012)
Impairment
He lost his arms due to an electric shock when he was a child. (Athlete, 11 Jul 2015)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heat 1 2
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final Round 5
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final Round 4
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final Round 2012-08-30 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heat 2 2012-08-30 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2012-09-03 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final Round 2012-09-03 3
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2012-09-04 3
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 3 2012-09-04 2
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Heat 1 2012-09-07 1
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final Round 2012-09-07 2
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2013-08-14 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2013-08-14 3
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final 1 2013-08-15 4
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2013-08-15 5
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final 1 2013-08-17 1
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final 1 2013-08-17 1
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB7 Heat 2 2015-07-14 12
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Heat 2 2015-07-15 1
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final 1 2015-07-15 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2015-07-16 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2015-07-16 3
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2015-07-17 5
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final 1 2015-07-17 8
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heat 1 2015-07-18 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final 1 2015-07-18 1
Men's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2015-07-19 16
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heat 1 2016-09-08 1
Men's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final Round 2016-09-08 1
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final Round 2016-09-09 2
Men's 50 m Butterfly S6 Heat 2 2016-09-09 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2016-09-10 3