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Team SA celebrate six of the best and two world records

By Mark Etheridge
in London

Roommates at Team South Africa’s residence, Oscar Pistorius and Arnu Fourie brought the house down with world record 200-metre sprint performances at the 2012 Paralympics here on Saturday night.

But that wasn’t all as six of their teammates came to the Paralympic party as well, bringing six more medals home and boosting Team SA’s tally to eight after three nights of competition.

Fourie ran a T44 world record of 22.57sec in his heat and then Bladerunner Pistorius blitzed to a 21.30sec win in the next heat.

Earlier in the evening it was Cape Town’s Achmat Hassiem who got the medal rush off to a start with bronze in the S10 100m butterfly event in the pool. He clocked 47.76sec.

Then it was sprinter Jonathan Ntutu’s turn to get bronze as well as he tied for third in the 100m T 13 final (11.03sec_

The big medal of the day came at the Aquatics Centre where Beijing gold medallist Charl Bouwer won the men’s 50m freestyle dash in 1:23.99.

“Winning a gold medal in this event is unbelievable because it’s not my main event [he won gold in Beijing in the 400m freestyle]. I felt goosebumps because I was only ranked fourth in this race.”

And back on the track it was Teboho Mokgalagadi who took silver in the men’s T35 100m final followed shortly afterwards by Dyan Buis also with silver in the T38 100m final (11.11).

The final medal for Team South Africa came in the evening’s final track event as Anrun├® Liebenberg blitzed to the bronze medal with a time of 25.55sec in┬á the T46 200m final.

Speaking after his heat Pistorius was springing about on his blades as back home in South Africa the nation welcomed the official first day of the spring season.

“I didn’t expect a time like this tonight! I had a few goals at the Paralympics, 200 and 400m gold and top three in the 100m but not this time. I mean my last PB in the 200m was back in 2007.

“A lot of people wondered if I would managed to peak for the Olympics and the Paralympics but I think I answered that out on the track tonight.”

Said silver medallist Mokgaladi: “It’s a great feeling to win silver but I must still concentrate on the 200m as well.”

On Thursday night Natalie du Toit won South Africa’s first gold in the 100m butterfly (S9) and the next night it was Hendri Herbst who took bronze┬á in the 100m freestyle (S11).

The six new medals put South Africa 16th on the medals table with eight medals, just behind France and ahead of New Zealand.


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