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China biggest winner on 1st day of wheelchair fencing

BEIJING -- Chinese fencers stole spotlight by sweeping all three gold medals on offer in the opening day`s wheelchair fencing competition at the Beijing Paralympics.

Laurent Francois of France (L) competes with China`s Hu Daoliang (R) in the men`s individual foil category B wheelchair fencing gold medal final on September 14, 2008 at the Fenching Hall on the Olympic Green in Beijing during the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. Hu defeated Francois 15-8 to win gold. [Agencies]

Ye Ruyi and Hu Daoliang collected the gold medals in the men`s individual foil Category A and B respectively and Chan Yui-chong from Hong Kong of China grabbed the gold in the women`s individual foil Category B final.

Ye, ranked sixth in the world, rose up as an dark horse to overcome his compatriot Zhang Lei 15-12, who was the silver medalist at the Athens Paralympics, to win the first wheelchair gold medal for China.

The 21-year-old Ye, looked more determined and flexible than his compatriot as he broke the deadlock when they tied at 12-12. He did not let the 26-year-old Zhang thrust more points until he accomplished his winning hit in a very steadfast manner.

"We play with each other a lot during the training time. To be honest, both of us are confident and well prepared to win. The result depends on our on-court performances," Ye said at the press conference.

"I was relaxed in the final. However, nothing on the field is easy. I could win the match because I was more concentrating on the match."

"Zhang is more experienced than me and he set good examples for me in the national team," he added.

Earlier, Chan Wing-kin of Hong Kong upset Dariusz Pender of Poland 15-9, bronze medallist in Athens Paralympics, to clinch the bronze medal.

"We know that Chinese wheelchair fencing is quite strong, and we Europeans will also learn a lot from them this time," said Pender.

In the men`s foil Category B final, Hu took the lead comfortably and downed the 40-year-old veteran Laurent Francois of France 15-8.

The wheelchair fencing competition, slated for September14-17 at the Beijing Paralympics, attracted 88 players including 60 men and 24 women from 19 countries and regions to compete in Individual Categories A and B of men`s foil, epee and sabre and women`s foil and epee.

Athletes who use wheelchairs are eligible to compete in wheelchair fencing in which the competition is static. The wheelchairs are fixed in place to the ground by metal frames and the chair is preferably clamped to both sides of the frame to keep the chair from tipping.

China`s Ye Hua (L) competes with Chan Yui Chong (R) from from Hong Kong of China in the women`s individual foil wheelchair fencing competition on September 14, 2008 at the Fenching Hall on the Olympic Green in Beijing during the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. [Agencies]

Date:2008-9-14 19:51:00     
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