Sheryl James ensured Team SA’s medals tally kept ticking over when she powered her way to a bronze at a wet Olympic Stadium on Tuesday night, to add final gloss to a day in which Pieter du Preez won the country’s third gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
James, who had narrowly missed out on a medal in the 200m, made no mistake in the final of the women’s 400m (T37), and was never out of the first three as she went over the line in 1min 03.82sec. That was a personal best, while Liezel Gouws crossed the finish in a season’s best 1:06.85.
Afterwards, James said that she hadn’t tun too often in the wet, and “not on a tartan track”.
She was upbeat and gave herself a “10 out of 10” for her Tokyo experience. “I came to make a final, break my PB and win a medal and I have achieved all three across the 200 and 400m, so I’m happy. I still have the 100m in the morning to come.”
Du Preez earlier won Team SA’s fourth medal at when he claimed gold in the men’s cycling (H1) time trial at Fuji Speedway.
The South African was ahead of the clock, and the opposition, from the start and the only scare he encountered was when he narrowly missed colliding with an opponent ahead of him who was exiting the track, having completed his event.
On a wet night at the athletics track in Tokyo, defending men’s champion from Rio 2016 in the 400m (T38), Dyan Buis, was unable to match his impressive form shown in the heats and finished fifth. That was also the position earned by Johanna Pretorius, who twice bettered her personal best, first in the heats and then in the final.
Wednesday’s main action on the track features two defending champions from Rio 2016 – Ernst van Dyk in cycling’s men’s road race and Charl du Toit in the men’s T37 400m final. Also hoping to do well in will be Buis (long jump), Kerwin Noemdi (shot put) and Mpumelelo Mhlongo (long jump).
HOW TEAM SA FARED ON TUESDAY
Women’s 100m (T13), heats: Johanna Pretorius (pictured) finished third in a personal-best 12.41sec to progress to the evening final.
Women’s 100m (T13), final: Pretorius again produced a personal best as she finished fifth in 12.33.
Women’s 100m (T47), heats: Paralympic 400m gold medallist Anrune Weyers finished fourth in a season’s best 12.66, but missed out on a place in the evening final.
Men’s 400m (T38), final: Dyan Buis, the gold medallist from Rio 2016, finished fifth in 51.39, after showing up well in the first half of the race before tiring in the last 200m.
Women’s 400m (T37), final: Sheryl James took bronze in 1:03.82 and Liezel Gouws finished fifth in 1:06.85.
Men’s H5 time trial, final: Ernst van Dyk finished ninth in 44min 34.88sec at the Fuji Speedway. “After one-and-a-half laps I knew that I wasnt going to medal so I used the race to settle the nerves ahead of Wednesday’s road race.”
Men’s H1 time trial, final: Pieter Kruger added the Paralympic title to his World Championship gold medal as he won impressively in 43:49.41.
Women’s T1-2 time trial, final: Toni Mould finished 10th after going round the Fuji Speedway circuit in 53:46.89.
Men’s 50m freestyle (S7), heats: Christian Sadie finished fourth in his heat in 29.22, but missed out on a place in the final.