Relay attempt botched | SASCOC - SASCOC

Relay attempt botched

Our Paralympic athletics team’s attempt to break their own world record ended in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night as a botched baton handover in the final leg saw them disqualified in the final leg of the 4×100-metre relay at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Durban.

The relay was the highlight of the second day of the championships, and both South Africa’s ÔÇ£Blade RunnerÔÇØ Oscar Pistorius and fellow Paralympic athlete Arnu Fourie had spoken beforehand of their desire to break the world mark that they had set in Germiston last month.

But while Samkelo Radebe got off to a blistering start, with Zivan Smith and Arnu Fourie following up in excellent fashion, the final handover to Pistorius went horribly wrong as Pistorius mistimed his start and left Fourie with more to do, eventually missing the handover with a clearly disappointed Pistorius finishing the race, knowing it would mean a disqualification.

Afterwards Pistorius’ coach Ampie Louw said it ÔÇ£was one of those thingsÔÇØ and laughed it off, adding that ÔÇ£it was good it happened now and not in London.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£The first three handovers were good, but it was one of those things, Oscar started too early and it wasn’t Arnu’s fault. Oscar feels very disappointed at the moment, especially because he is part of a team, and he let the team down.┬áAs he said, you’re never too old to make a mistake,ÔÇØ Louw said. ÔÇ£The time wasn’t a problem, but rather it happens now than when we get to London.ÔÇØ

Pistorius and Fourie had better fortunes in their 200m race, with Pistorius pipping Fourie in the sprint and overturning the result from the 100m. Both athletes won their respective classes, with Pistorius winning the T43 (double amputee) and Fourie the T44 (single amputee) category respectively.

Running into a strong 2.4-metre per second headwind, Pistorius won his race in 23.32 while Fourie came home in 23.74 respectively.

Pistorius will run his specialty, the 400m on Wednesday morning, as the athletics programme draws to a close at the King’s Park Athletics Stadium.

The night also produced some great results, with Paralympic gold medallist Hilton Langenhoven and Fanie van der Merwe following up their 100m wins with gold in the 200m as well. Langenhoven won the T12 class in 23.22 while Van der Merwe won his race ÔÇô in category T37 ÔÇô in 24.83.

A big highlight earlier in the day was the new South African record set by Zanele Situ, who will be heading to her fourth Paralympics in London, in the category F54 in Javelin. She bettered her previous mark of 16.07 metres to 16.20m in the hot and humid conditions.

ÔÇ£I’m more than proud to do that. When you compete you look at the results, I want to get stronger and get better distances. My goal is to do better than I expected at the Paralympics and surprise myself with my performance,ÔÇØ Situ said.

The day also saw good performances by Ilse Hayes, who won her event in 26.35 in the 200m sprint (T13) while there was also a win for Teboho Mokgaladi (T35, 28.87).

Earlier in the day Paralympic swimmers Emily Gray and Charl Bouwer both put in excellent performances in the 100m backstroke finals, winning their respective events.

Gray finished in a credible 1.18.04 while Bouwer, who is looking to replace the Paralympic gold medal that was stolen in a house robbery a few weeks ago, won his 100m backstroke event in 1.05.79.

The championships end on Wednesday, with a morning athletics session and an afternoon swimming session.