In the next installment of our series looking back at Rio 2016, we relive the Super Sunday exactly four years ago when Team SA won four more medals at the Paralympic Games.
Team South Africa celebrated four more medals on a hugely productive day for the country at the Rio Paralympic Games.
After a super productive afternoon on the track where first Charl du Toit and Fanie van der Merwe won gold and bronze in the T37 100m final and Ilse Hayes then sealed silver in the T13 100m it was up to teenager Ntando Mahlangu to come to the party.
And come to the party he did as he raced to silver in the men’s T42 final in the evening session of athletics.
We use the term ‘men’ lightly here as let’s remember, Ntando is just 14 years old, and been fitted with prostheses for less than four years!
The Mpumalanga athlete motored to a time of 23.77 seconds, only being beaten by British Paralympic sensation Richard Whithead (23.39).
It still hadn’t quite sunk in as to what he’d done on the biggest stage of all. ‘Wow, it’s a very great feeling and I just want to thank SA for allowing me to have this opportunity. Thanks to all the people back home who helped me get here.
‘As for the final, everyone is just running his best hey, I’m happy with my result, I ran a personal best so really can’t expect much more.’
Du Toit and Van der Merwe had banked Team South Africa’s third and fourth medals of the Games in Rio as they ran to first and third place respectively in the T37 100-metre track final.
And 10 minutes after their gold-bronze sprint final it was Stellenbosch training partner Ilse Hayes who scorched to silver in the women’s T13 100m final.
Du Toit, who broke the world record in the semi-finals with a barnstorming 11.42sec, came from behind in front of a crowd of 30,000, to take gold from Egypt’s Mostafa Mohamed in 11.45sec. He kept his cool to run a beautifully controlled race, overtaking his continental counterpart with around 25m to run and showing the world his customary smile.
‘I didn’t get the best of starts, the Egyptian guy was flying – hats off to him.
‘But I kept my control and at about 70m I knew I was in the mix. I had to really work for this one.’
Explaining the smile he said: ‘I just really enjoy athletics and just love doing this. the big smile was for my late uncle [killed in a home robbery recently], my training group, coach Suzanne Ferreira, my conditioning coach Sean Surmon and I also had my parents here which was amazing.’
Van der Merwe, the 2012 Paralympic champion in this event finished strongly to be credited with the same time as Mohamed in what will be his final Paralympics.
As for Hayes, she rocketed out of the blocks faster than anyone apart from American Kym Crosby but her nemesis of late, Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova hunted her down and passed about three-quarters into the race to set a new world record of 11.79sec.
Hayes’ time was non too shabby either as she clocked a season’s best 11.91 with Crosby third in 12.24.