By Mark Etheridge
The track clock couldn’t separate Dyan Buis and Brazilian opponent Edson Pinheiro in a frenetic T37 men’s 100-metre track final at the Rio Paralympics on Tuesday.
After an initial false start to the final it took a photo decision by the judges to deny 2012 Paralympic silver medallist Buis another medal as he and the Brazilian were both adjudged to have run 11.26 seconds. Buis didn’t have the best of starts but was flying at the finish and, beaten to bronze, it was the age-old question of: if only it had been a bit further…
But there was no denying the gold and silver medallists. China’s Jianwen Hu won in a world record 10.74 to dethrone reigning Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanldon who ran 10.98 for a season’s best.
‘The false start was a bit unveiling but it was good that I got my focus back quickly,’ said Buis, originally from Riversdale in the southern Cape but now living in Cape Town where he is an ordained minister.
‘The start wasn’t good but still I have to be satisfied. I came here to run for Go but the result didn’t show that. But what I do know is that I gave my best.
‘I was way behind to begin with and I thought there was still a chance to get through at the end for the medal, it was less than 0.01sec away from that medal but I’m still happy.’
In another final it was London Paralympian Andrea Dalle Ave who also missed out on this occasion. In fact, he mirrored his London position with fifth in the F37 long jump final. He leapt a season’s best 5.86 as China’s Guangxu Shang won with a world record jump of 6.77. In London, Dalle Ave recorded a 6.02 for fifth.
Earlier, in one of the three athletics finals involving South Africans, Liezel Gouws ended seventh in the T37 final with a time of 1:09.08sec. That was slower than the 1:07.86 she ran in Monday’s heats but the North West teenager still looks to have a bright future.
And in the women’sT45/46/46 400-metre heats, it was Anruné Liebenberg who flew the South African flag proudly as she won the first of two heats.
Her time was 1min 01.79sec (second fastest of the qualifiers through to the final) and she’ll be encouraged with that after having undergone knee surgery earlier in the year. China’s Lu Li was quickest with a 1:00.77 win in the first heat.
Four years ago in London, Liebenberg won silver in this event. Big news in Rio on Tuesday was the non-starting of Cuba’s Yunidis Castillo, who was just sensational in London as she won 100, 200 and 400m gold in London with world records in all three.
Swimming didn’t produce much joy for the South Africans as Achmat Hassiem (58.25sec) was 18th fastest in S10 freestyle qualifying, as did Shireen Sapiro (1:08.90) in the same event for women in what looks to be her last race in the Paralympics.
Last swimmer in action was Emily Gray in the S9 50 freestyle and her 33.25 put her 20th in the rankings.
Picture of Buis in action on Tuesday courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA