Defending champion China bagged the wheelchair curling gold at the Beijing 2022 Paralympics Winter Games on Saturday after defeating Sweden 8-3 at the National Aquatics Centre. On a day that saw 11 additional podium spots for China, including four gold medals, the country’s wheelchair curling team defended their title in spectacular style to take the game 8-3 after just seven ends. After China took an early lead, Sweden managed to capitalise on a mistake and level the scoring, but Haitao Wang and his team took control of the match after picking up an impressive four points in the fifth end. Despite a spirited comeback from the Swedes, it was not enough to clinch the gold. The team had a disappointing start to their competition, blaming their first two losses on nerves and pressure to perform in front of a home crowd, but they bounced back with a 12-game win streak on their way to the gold medal. Day eight of the Paralympics may go down as one of China’s best yet. The country now has an impressive 58 medals, including 18 gold. On Saturday cross-country skier Yang Hongqiong was among gold medallists, clinching the women’s middle distance sitting gold ahead of Japan’s Oskana Masters and China’s Jing Ma with silver and bronze respectively. This is Yang’s third Paralympic title after long distance and sprint sitting. China’s Para cross-country skier Mao Zhongwu notched the men’s middle distance sitting gold with his teammate Zheng Peng taking the silver, while Giuseppe Romele of Italy pocketed the bronze. Para skier Wang Chenyang was another to win gold for host in the men’s middle distance free technique standing here on Saturday. Wang, 20, finished the 13km race in 33 minutes and 7.8 seconds, beating five-time Paralympic champion Benjamin Daviet of France by 1.3 seconds. Wang’s teammate Cai Jiayun came in third to claim bronze. “I put in 120% effort today,” Wang said. “It’s my willpower that got me this medal. I am very, very happy for myself.” Canada’s Brian McKeever raced into the history books and grabbed his 16th Paralympic gold medal in cross-country skiing at the Beijing Winter Games Saturday. McKeever won the middle distance race, and in doing so equalled the gold-medal haul of German former para alpine skier Gerd Schonfelder – the most decorated men’s Paralympian. The 42-year-old had already bagged two titles in the visually impaired sprint and long distance events this week at Zhangjiakou. McKeever made his Paralympic debut at Salt Lake City in 2002 and Beijing will be his last Games. Before the race, McKeever had played down the fuss over potentially reaching Schonfelder’s record. “I will continue to not think about them and just keep going one race at a time and (try) to enjoy this,” he said earlier this week. Norwegian cross-country skier Ragnhild Myklebust holds the record as the most successful Winter Paralympian overall – 22 golds and 27 total medals over five games from 1988 to 2002. Ukraine’s team on Saturday surpassed its previous best-ever Paralympic result – 25 medals including seven gold at the 2006 Turin Games. The team – reeling from the trauma of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – has managed 28 podium finishes in Beijing, with further medals up for grabs on Sunday in the relay events. Oleksandra Kononova, 31, won gold in the women’s middle distance standing cross-country race, sharing the podium with teammate Iryna Bui, 26, who came in third behind Canada’s Natalie Wilkie, 21. “I felt really proud of myself, about my country who raised me and gave me everything to perform here at such a high level. I thought about my family,” Kononova said.