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251 Chinese Athletes Go for Gold (Again) at Tokyo Paralympics

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The 439-member Chinese Paralympic delegation, which includes 251 participating athletes, is heading to Japan for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games. The games are set to be held from August 24 to September 5. 

The Paralympians include 132 women and 119 men. They will compete in 20 out of the 22 sports, including taekwondo and badminton, both of which are making their debut at this year’s Paralympic Games. 

At Toyko, China is participating in the most events in its history at the Paralympic Games. The team will not compete in equestrian or wheelchair rugby.

The oldest competitor from China is 56-year-old table tennis player Zhao Ping, and the youngest is 16-year-old swimmer Yuyan Jiang. All of China’s Paralympic participants are amateur athletes who work in different industries. 

Tokyo 2020 is the 10th Summer Paralympics that Chinese athletes have attended since China first joined the event in 1984 in New York, USA, and Stoke Mandeville, UK (the last Paralympic Games not to be staged in the same host city as the Olympics).

Tokyo Paralympic Games

A signboard for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on display outside the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku ward. Image via Depositphotos

Since Athens in 2004, China has topped the Summer Paralympics medal tally, winning more golds and silvers than any other country at each of the four preceding games. 

At each of the three previous Summer Paralympic Games, China won more than 200 medals. It doubled the medals total of the second-place nation in both Beijing 2008 and London 2012. 

The country’s success at the Summer Paralympic Games stands in stark contrast to its performance at the Winter Games. China has won just one medal since 2002, something the country will want to remedy before it hosts the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2022. 

Due to COVID-19 spikes in Japan, no spectators will be allowed to enter stadiums to watch the Paralympics, the committee said on Monday.

During the Olympics, some fans were allowed to enter outlying areas as exceptions to the no-fan rule. This time, the rule will be strictly observed with some possible exceptions for children, ESPN has reported

More than 4,400 athletes from around the world will attend the Paralympics, compared to 11,000 at the Olympics. However, as the Delta variant continues to spread, Japan has recently seen a record number of COVID-19 infections — topping 25,000 daily on Thursday, August 19. 

Reports from Chinese media claim that all Chinese delegates have been fully vaccinated ahead of the games. 

Cover image via Depositphotos

Yiwen Lu
    Yiwen is a student journalist studying Economics and Political Science at the University of Chicago. She was born and raised in Shanghai.