Oscar Pistorius claimed his first gold in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch with an emphatic performance in the men’s 200-metre final (T44). This as South Africa upped its tally to 12 and moved up to fourth on the medals table.
Pistorius dominated from the start to win in 21.80 seconds. His close rival Jerome Singleton of the USA claimed silver in 22.77, knocking more than half a second off his personal best and sending a clear message that he will be hard to beat in Wednesday’s 100m final.
South Africa also claimed bronze through Arnu Fourie who ran 22.82 and also took more than half a second off his previous best time. There was another silver in the men’s 100m T13 through Jonathan Ntutu (11.11sec).
Running into a fresh breeze for the first 40m, the athlete known as┬á “Blade Runner” used his power on the bend to dominate the world-class field.
Singleton, the South African’s main rival, made a lightning start to grab an early lead, but was caught on the turn and Pistorius powered away to win by nearly a second and was just 0.22sec outside his world record.
“I’m extremely happy with that performance,” Pistorius told 3news.co.nz. “It is probably the strongest 200m field ever assembled and for this time of the year it is a pretty good time.”
Pistorius also said on his Twitter feed: “Just finished the 200m Final. Got a gold and ran a hard last 100m. Want to congratulate my team mate Arnu Fourie, missed the silver by 0.04!”
Pistorius is guarded about his chances on Wednesday in the 100m where he will come up against several specialists over the distance. Singleton, who he beat by only 0.03sec at the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008, will provide his strongest opposition at a distance where Pistorius is at his most vulnerable.
Back to Monday’s action though and Teboho Mokgalagadi raced to gold in the men’s 100m sprint final (T35) clocking 12.96sec. Also in the sprints Pieter du Preez won another medal when he was timed at 23.49 in the 100m (L8), good for third spot.
Then Stellenbosch’s Fanie van der Merwe got silver in the men’s 100m final (L4) with a season’s best of 11.69sec. In the field events, Michael Lourens made it another bronze for Team South Africa’s medal collection when he hurled the shot 13.73 metres in the men’s F57 category.
China, Russia and Great Britain are ahead of South Africa in the medals table with 24, 15 and 17 medals respectively. Russia top Great Britain in the standings despite having won two less medals. This is because the rankings go on the number of gold medals won. Russia have won eight gold medals compared to Great Britain’s five.
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