Wheelchair fencer Li Hao claims first gold for China at Tokyo Paralympics

(Xinhua) 09:59, August 26, 2021


Li Hao of China celebrates winning the wheelchair fencing men's sabre individual Category A final against Artem Manko of Ukraine at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Chiba, Japan, Aug. 25, 2021. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)

TOKYO, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- Wheelchair fencer Li Hao won the first gold medal for China at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games by taking the men's sabre individual category A crown here on Wednesday.

Artem Manko of Ukraine took the silver, while another Chinese fencer, Tian Jianquan bagged the bronze.

"I didn't see that coming at all," Li, who made his Paralympic debut, was surprised when being told that he won the first gold for China at the Tokyo Paralympics.

"I've never thought about winning gold," Li said. "Making it to the semifinals and maybe grabbing a medal would already live up to my expectations."

Starting strong with a 3-1 lead in the final, things then went south for Li as his opponent scored consecutively to go 8-4 ahead.

With instructions from his coach and some self-adjustment, Li managed to fight back with a 6-0 run after "slowing down and trying to control the pace."

Li performed another 4-0 run to make it 14-10. After giving out two match-winning points, Li didn't let his winning hopes slip away again with a confident slash to claim the gold.

"I tend to be a bit too aggressive and stubborn in competitions," Li noted. "I always want to rush forward. But my coach told me to slow down."

"I know I still have a lot to improve," the 26-year-old said. "I didn't win because of how good my skills are but for how much I dare to fight."

Li will also take part in the men's foil individual category A and men's foil team on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

"This is my first Paralympic Games and I didn't have much pressure. I hope to carry on with the same mindset in the upcoming competitions." 


(Web editor: Xia Peiyao, Hongyu)


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