Great Paralympic moments: ZHENG Tao smashes world record on Paralympic debut

Zheng Tao of People's Republic of China competes in the Men's 100m Backstroke - S6 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.  Zheng won the race in a new world record time of 1:13.56 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Zheng Tao of People's Republic of China competes in the Men's 100m Backstroke - S6 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Zheng won the race in a new world record time of 1:13.56 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

With Tokyo 2020 now just one year away, it’s time to relive some of the greatest Paralympic moments of the decade. Today, 31 August 2020, we take a look at ZHENG Tao's record-breaking Paralympic debut.

The schedule for Tokyo 2020 has been confirmed, venues announced and while athletes around the world are busy gearing up to qualify for the greatest show on Earth, it's time to enjoy 13 days full of the most unforgettable, inspiring and exciting moments from the past as preparations for Tokyo 2020 gather pace!

World record broken, gold medal won

The image of 21-year-old Zheng competing at London 2012 captured the imagination of the world.

It was Zheng’s first Paralympic Games, but he handled the pressure effortlessly and made it to the 100m backstroke S6 Final as the second fastest qualifier, following his teammate and rival JIA Hongguang.

At the time, the World and Paralympic record was still held by Russian Federation athlete Igor Plotnikov from Athens 2004, but on the night of the final in London, expectations were high that the eight-year-long record would finally be broken.

Greatest Paralympic Moments: Zheng Tao, London 2012
  • Simone Barlaam of Italy is followed by Federico Morlacchi of Italy in the Men's 100m Butterfly S9 Final at the 2019 World Para-swimming Championships in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
    Swimming

    Italy aims for another gold rush at Lignano 2021

  • Jade Jones of Great Britain celebrates victory against Skylar Park of Canada in the Semi-final of the Women's -57kg during the 2019 World Taekwondo Championships. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images)
    Athletes

    Social media best bits: From Tokyo qualification to records 

  • Gold medallist Rikako Ikee of Japan celebrate during the victory ceremony for the women's 100m butterfly swimming event at the 2018 Asian Games (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
    Athletes

    The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes