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Cross-Country Medals Up for Grabs on Day Five of Paralympics

INTERNATIONAL: China continued its cross-country success at the Beijing Paralympics on Wednesday (March 9) picking up two more gold medals. But the Europeans and North Americans hit back later in the day.

Zheng Peng and Yang Hongqiong took the honors for the host nation in the men's and women's sprint sitting events.

While Zheng saw off fellow countryman Mao Zhongwu, Yang just pipped Ukraine-born American Oksana Masters, who was rapidly closing in on her on the finish line.

In the standing sprint events, Benjamin Daviet of France and Natalie Wilkie of Canada took gold, while the men's sprint vision-impaired title went to Brian McKeever. Carina Edlinger of Austria took the women's title.

Wilkie's battle with Vilde Nielsen was particularly memorable, the pair swapping positions throughout the race before Wilkie made the decisive move in the final 100m.

The Ukrainian team has excelled in Beijing -- winning eight gold medals to sit third in the table -- but standing on the podium has been overshadowed by the crisis back home.

While Ukrainian biathlete Anastasiia Laletina was forced to pull out of the middle-distance sitting event at the Beijing Winter Paralympics on Tuesday after her father was captured by Russian forces, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian paralympic committee had mentioned.

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