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Quiet day for Team SA

It was a barren day on the medal front for Team South Africa at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.

There were no additions to the haul of 21 medals (seven each of gold, silver and bronze) that they had started the seventh day of competition with.

A season’s best throw of 10.46 metres saw Given Ratsoma one place from the podium as she ended fourth in the F20 shot put final. Opening with a 10.32m effort, the 25-year-old came up with her best throw in her fourth attempt of six.

The same went for Duane Strydom in the mens’ discus final (F36). He also ended fourth after his opening throw saw the shot thudding into the turf at the 37.53m mark.

That proved to be his best effort of the day and 56cm shy of the bronze-medal winning heave. Still Strydom had the satisfaction of knowing he can take a season’s best performance home with him.

In the men’s F46 triple jump final David Roos managed only two jumps, 11.70 and 11.62m before retiring and ending last of the nine competitors. Roos’s wife Tamrynn said on Friday that the East London athlete was having problems with his knees.┬á “He decided to rather keep the knee problems at bay because of the 4x100m relay tomorrow.”

The final of the women’s 1500m (T20) saw Nontobeko Mabizela return a season’s best 5min 00.53sec for sixth spot.

Francois Badenhorst also took sixth in the men’s discus (F12) with a best throw of 34.72m, his fourth of five legal throws.

Jonathan Ntutu also qualified for his T13 400m final (no time available). Said coach Suzanne Ferreira: “Fanie van der Merwe is also attempting his first 400m at such a big event.”

Despite a medal-free day, South Africa still find themselves 10th on the medals table with China (51 medals), Russia (31) and Brazil (24).

Saturday’s eighth day of competition should certainly see Team South Africa’s medal tally growing with three-time Beijing Paralympics gold medallist Hilton Langenhoven in 200m action (his favourite event), Bladerunner Oscar Pistorius in his favourite event, the 400m as well as the men’s 4X100m relay. With Roos, Samkelo Radebe, Arnu Fourie and Oscar in the line-up, South Africa are definitely in with a shout, even the gold medal.

Said Ferreira: “The relay guys have a tough draw in lane eight but they mustn’t let it get to them and just lead from the front.”

Also in action on Saturday will be Shenelle van Zyl, in her favourite event the discus (F35).

The championships come to an end on Sunday with the marathon, the only remaining event.