6 September 2012
Team South Africa’s 4 by 100 metres T42/46 relay team blitzed their opposition at the London Paralympic Games on Wednesday evening to win gold in world record time.
The combination of Samkelo Radebe, Zivan Smith, Arnu Fourie and Oscar Pistorius improved on the world record with a superb time of 41.78 seconds.
“It’s the most amazing experience for all of us,” Pistorius told reporters after the race.
“We’ve been practising over the last two days. We’re all professional and have a job to do.
‘We smashed that world record’
“We smashed that world record. Each guy here did his job,” Pistorius said. “I said to the guys to stay calm and focused.”
After Brazil and the USA were disqualified for changeover infractions, China claimed the silver medal. They ran a regional record time, but their 42.98 was some way behind the winning South African quartet. Third went to Germany in 45.23.
Pistorius and Fourie were also in action in the heats of the T44 100 metres on Wednesday evening. Pistorius won his race in 11.18 seconds to qualify for the final, while Fourie also won his heat in 11.29 seconds to advance.
The fastest qualifying time, however, went to Jonnie Peacock, who equalled the Paralympic record of 11.08 seconds. In the same heat, 200m winner, Alan Oliviera finished third in 11.56 to secure a spot in the final.
Pistorius won the event in the Beijing Paralympics four years ago, while Fourie placed fourth, but a number of runners in the Thursday’s final own better personal bests than the pair, so the competition is going to be stiff.
World record for bronze!
Dyan Buis excelled in the men’s F37/38 long jump, equalling the F38 world record with a best leap of 6.48 metres. That was, however, good for a bronze medal only.
With the event hosting two classes of disability, the results are decided on a points system. Therefore the 6.31m jump by Gocha Khugaev of Russia, which was a world record in the F37 class, was good for the gold medal, while Yuxi Ma of China’s 6.26m regional record won him a silver medal.
In the same event, another South African, Andrea Dalle Ave, set a regional record of 6.02m in the F37 class, while Union Sekailwe, the winner of the bronze medal in the men’s T38 400m, finished in 10th place.
Qualified for final
Teboho Mokgalagadi qualified for the final of the men’s 200m in the T35 class after running a personal best of 27.37 seconds. He previously won the event at the Athens Paralympics, but it wasn’t run at the Beijing Games of 2008.
Zanele Situ, the winner of javelin gold in Sydney and Athens, narrowly missed out on a medal this time around in the women’s F54/55/56 class. She finished fourth behind China’s Liwan Yang, Tunisia’s Hania Aidi and Martina Willing of Germany.
In the swimming pool, Tadhg Slattery, who first competed in the Paralympics 20 years ago in Barcelona in 1992, placed fifth in the men’s 100 metres breaststroke in the SB5 class.
He had previously won the event in 1992 and 2004 and finished runner-up in it in 1996 and 2000. He won bronze in Beijing in 2008.
Natalie du Toit was unsuccessful in her defence of the 50m freestyle S9 title, finishing seventh in the final in 29.84. China’s Ping Lin snatched gold in a Paralympic record of 29.12, with Louise Watkin of Britain second in 29.21 and Ellie Cole of Australia third in an Oceania record of 29.28.
Kevin Paul finished seventh in the final of the men’s 400m freestyle in the S10 class despite swimming an African record of 4:16.46, while Shireen Sapiro placed eighth in the final of the women’s 400m S10.
In cycling, time trial events were held. Ernst van Dyk placed fifth in the men’s H4 class in a race won by former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a racing accident in 2001.
Stuart McCreadie was seventh in the H2 class, Gerhard Viljoen finished in the same position in the mixed H1-2 class, Jaco Nel placed 12th in the men’s in the C2 class, and Roxanne Burns was sixth in the women’s C4 class.
The South African men’s wheelchair basketball team finished in twelfth and last place after a heavy 83-36 defeat at the hands of Colombia.
South Africa ended Wednesday in 21st place on the medal table with four gold, five silver and eight bronze medals.
China’s domination at the top of the table continued. By competition’s end on Wednesday, the country had won 60 gold, 50 silver and 49 bronze medals, bringing its total to 159 medals.
Russia (28, 25, 20, 73) has moved up to second place, dropping hosts, Great Britain (25, 36, 31, 92) to third place and second on medal count.
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