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Oscar and Co fly the flag

Our top Paralympic athletes have flown the South African flag with pride over the last four weeks.

Many of them have competed in England, Netherlands and Germany during this period.

Among them were household names like Oscar Pistorius, Hilton Langenhoven, Fanie van der Merwe, Ilse Hayes and Arnu Fourie.

The events contested were the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, the Dutch Open and IWAS Open in Stadskanaal, the German leg of the series in Leverkusen and also the German Open in Bottrot.

All these athletes were competing with the aim of making the team for the World Championships in New Zealand next year.

Memorable moments of the last few weeks include:
Pistorius and Fourie taking Gold and Silver in the T44┬á100-metre sprint final at the sixth annual BT Paralympic World Cup. They formed part of the ‘Rest of World’ team alongside fellow SA invitees, Fanie vd Merwe and Fanie Lombaard, who competed against Great Britain, the Americas and Europe for the inaugural overall Competition Team Trophy.

Jean Joubert bettered his own SA Record in the F44 Javelin event not once, but twice! Joubert, who set the SA record of 37.09 at this year’s Nedbank Nationals, first threw a 41.55m at the Dutch Open and then a 44.14m at the IWAS European Open. He continued performing well in the field events by breaking Dewald Reynders’ F44 shot put record (12.40m) with a throw of 12.68m in Leverkusen.

David Roos ÔÇô a T/F46 competitor ÔÇô took gold in the 100m, gold in the long jump, and silver in the triple jump events at the IWAS European Open in Stadskanaal. His distance of 12.15m in the F46 triple jump final was a new Africa record. Roos achieved his ‘Season’s Best’ in Bottrot with a jump of 6.52m in the F46 long jump.

Fourie, T44┬á100m & 200m sprint athlete, won gold in every single one of his races except against (T43 runner) Pistorius. Fourie thus took silver in the 100m at the Paralympic World Cup; gold in both the 100 & 200m races at the Dutch Open – setting a new Africa record in the T44 200m (23.48sec); gold in both events at IWAS; and then went on to set a new SA and African record in the T44┬á100m in Leverkusen with a time of 11.19 seconds. He went on to take gold in the 100m and silver in the 200m, (gold went to Pistorius), at the German Open in Bottrot.

Finally, the South African T44/T46 relay team; consisting of Samkelo Radebe, Arnu Fourie, David Roos, and Oscar Pistorius, set a new Africa Record at the German Open with a time of 43.16 seconds ÔÇô a mere 0.4 seconds slower than the current world record.

The three Team Icexpress athletes ÔÇô (so-called because they are part of a group of amputee athletes that compete with the assistance of ‘Ice-technology’ prosthetics developed by Johan Snyders of Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics) ÔÇô all achieved new personal bests. Fourie, Roos and Joubert were consistently in the medals, bringing home 10 gold, seven silver & four bronze medals between them. They also set two new South African & three new African records as the series went on.