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Paralympic medallists through to IPC London finals

By Mark Etheridge

A trio of Paralympic medallists were in heat action for South Africa on day six of the IPC Athletics World Championships in London on Wednesday.

Double Rio Paralympic sprint gold medallist and already a gold medallist over 200m in London, Charl du Toit, ran the T37 100m, while Hilton Langenhoven and Jonathan Ntutu were in T12 action over the 200m dash.

They were joined by Ruhan van Rooyen in the T37 100m.

Du Toit won his heat (see above) in a time of 11.68, while Van Rooyen was fourth in the next heat, slower, but his 12.41 time still saw him going through.

‘Tonight’s race went really well and I felt really comfortable in the heat and now I’m looking forward to the final,’ said Du Toit.

In the 200m heats Langenhoven was runner-up in a season’s best 22.76 behind Britain’s Zachary Shaw (22.73).

The next heat saw Ntutu, pictured left, running a season’s best 22.88 for second spot to advance behind Spain’s Joan Munar Martinez, who won in 22.47.

Not being involved in any finals and not having any medal-winning opportunities on Wednesday saw South Africa slip slightly down the medals table from 13th to 16th with their eight medals.

Meanwhile Dyan Buis was still allowing the jubilation of Tuesday’s T38 gold in the 200m to sink in (see picture below).

‘Winning my first World Championships gold medal was truly fantastic, especially with such a strong field,’ he told the Team SA website.

‘When I came around the bend, I saw the Chinese athlete ahead of me I just worked hard and focused on catching him. When I came over the line and saw I’d won the gold, it was fantastic.

‘All the hard work has paid off. I started this year working full-time as a teacher and had to go to gym before school and then, after a hard day’s work, go off the track for training.’

But Buis’ job is not done yet and he still has the 100 and 400m events to bookend his 200m gold.

‘I’m very excited about the 100 and 400m coming up. I’m in some of the best shape of my life and confident in what I’m able to do. I’m doing it with God, which gives me more motivation to do my best. I’m still excited after standing on the podium and singing the national anthem for South Africa, a truly amazing experience.’

Buis will run the 400m heats on Saturday, a day after Friday’s 100m heats. ‘I’m really excited for the 100m. My block starts have been phenomenal and I’m looking forward to applying it during the race.’

On the downside, Buis said he was disappointed at the media exposure that the country’s para-athletes were getting back home.

‘It seems like the media coverage back at home is disappointing. Media plays a vital part in spreading the message. With media coverage comes exposure to the public.

‘Exposure means firstly celebrating with my fellow South Africans and hopefully inspiring some youngsters and challenging perceptions, but exposure also means that sponsors might become more interested in para-athletes.

‘If we as Paralympic athletes truly want to reach our full potential we need support to allow us to focus on our careers. It would be wonderful if we could see increased media coverage back home.’

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images


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