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Chinese wheelchair fencers shine, Australian para-swimmer wins 6th gold

(Xinhua)

10:50, September 05, 2012

LONDON, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's gold tally reached 53 at the London Paralympics on Tuesday, thanks to the start of the wheelchair fencing, while Australian para-swimmer Jacqueline Freney took her sixth gold medal from her sixth event to be the most crowned athlete.

China are topping the standings with 53 gold, 39 sliver, 40 bronze medals, followed by hosts Britain with 23-30-26, Russia 23-22-17, Ukraine 18-15-17, Australia 18-13-21, the United States 14-15-18 and Brazil 10-7-4.

The 12-gold wheelchair fencing kicked off and Chinese fencers entered all the four finals on Tuesday, clinching three golds and a sliver.

At the Beijing Paralympics, China took six gold medals in the wheelchair fencing.

Enjoying a flying start, the Chinese team manager Fan Hong is optimistic of taking more golds than six in London.

He attributed the success to the players' hard training and the full support from the government and the people.

"Fencing is a delicate sport, the wheelchair one in particular. You have to pay more attention to every detail," Fan said.

"My fencers do very well in daily practise and they are very confident in their matches," he added.

The seven gold medals collected by China on Tuesday were three from wheelchair fencing, two from track and field, one from archery, and one from swimming.

In the pool, it was six out of six so far for Australia's Freney. Tonight she set a Paralympic record on her way to gold in the S7 women's 50m freestyle.

She had already been crowned in 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley and 4x100m freestyle relay.

With two more races to go, the 400m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay, Freney is expected to bring about more surprises.

Born in 1992 and suffering cerebral palsy, Freney began competing in swimming carnivals on New South Wales' north coast at age six. Her parents managed public swimming pools for a living and so swimming has always been a huge part of her life.

Her grandfather, Peter Freney, is an accomplished swimming coach. He coached top Australian Paralympian Siobhan Paton and received a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to swimming.

Freney was awarded an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship in May 2008, and then took three bronze medals in the Beijing Paralympic Games.
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