SA's five medals in Rio | SASCOC - SASCOC

SA’s five medals in Rio

By Mark Etheridge

Our para-swimmers made their mark from the outset at the Brazilian Open Championships in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

With more than 40,000 euros up for grabs in prize money, the event was expected to give good form indication ahead of the 2011 Parapan American Games in Mexico.

After the first day our swimmers immediately got the medal tally rolling with five medals.

Team South Africa were in action in three events on day one of the championships, the 100 metre backstroke, 50m backstroke and the 200m Individual Medley.

The backstroke events saw two medals, Hendrik Herbst took gold in the S11 category (1min 20.42sec), James Bezuidenhout got bronze (S9, 1:12.91) while Tadhg Slattery was seventh in the S7 division (1:37.11).

Disappointingly due to the low number of countries that sent teams to Brazil, heats have been done away with and all events are straight finals.

One swimmer who suffered directly due to low entry numbers was Johannesburg’s Shireen Sapiro who won the S10 category in 1:11.41 but missed out on a medal as there was only one other swimmer in her class, Brazil’s Lediane da Silva Joaseiro who finished way behind Sapiro in 1:37.99.

Our only representation in the 50m back was Adri Visser and she swam to bronze in 1:12.91.

On to the 200m IM and our original trio of representatives was cut to two after Slattery (M6) had to scratch due to illness. Port Elizabeth swimmer Kevin Paul picked up the team’s second gold medal of the day, in the M10 category, when he powered to victory in 2:19:166.

Swimming in the same race, Capetonian Achmat Hassiem took bronze, the 2006 shark bite victim touching the wall in 2:31.30.

The championships continue through to Saturday.