By Mark Etheridge
Buoyed by big Tyrone Pillay’s bronze in the shot put on Monday, Team South Africa continue their medal hunt on day six of the Rio Paralympics on Tuesday.
Already there are seven in the bag… gold is what they’re chasing as despite Pillay’s bagging of bronze, Team SA still slipped three places down the medal table to 19th after completion of the day’s events.
In late night action on Monday, South Africans saw action in two swimming finals but there were no medals this time, and Kevin Paul’s gold on the opening day of competition on Thursday, remains the old swimming medal of this campaign.
London Paralympic bronze medallists Hendri Herbst and Achmat Hassiem were in S11 and S10 action, the former in the 50m freestyle, the latter in the 100m butterfly.
Blind swimmer Herbst (diving off the blocks above) was sixth in a time of 27.11 while the man they call ‘Shark Boy’ was eighth in 1:00.96.
Track action saw Liezel Gouws and Dyan Buis both going through to their respective finals. Running the second of two heats, Gouws clocked 1:07.86 in the T38 400m, her preferred event, after she ran the 100m earlier in the Games. She goes into Tuesday’s final as sixth fastest qualifier.
Buis, who won three medals at the last Games, also featured in the second of two heats and was second in 11.29, a season’s best carrying him into the final as third fastest qualifier.
Ahead of him were China’s Jianwen Hu (who ran an impressive 10.93) and defending Paralympic champion Evan O’Hanlon, who, remember, ran 10.79 to take gold in London four years ago.
Also in action will be Andrea Dalle Ave in the T37 long jump final. He was fifth in this event at the last Paralympics with a leap of 6.02m but has since gone on to improve that to 6.05m, a continental record.
Tennis saw Lucas Sithole lost 0-6 3-6 to Aussie Dylan Alcott in the semi-final and he’s in bronze medal action on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, on the equestrian front, four-time Paralympian Philippa Johnson-Dwyer and Lord Louis have their second ride of the Games on Tuesday.
At the weekend they were in action and finished fifth.
She says: ‘I have to say I was very proud of Louis. We had continuous, what we thought was gun fire, but it turned out to be fireworks being let off at a soccer match next door to the arena through our ride but he didn’t once react!
‘It’s not his best test as there is a lot of stop, start which normally allows him to get long and behind my leg but he felt amazing. We finished fifth with 69.92%. The exciting part is that between us and the horse that finished second is only 0.4% so how’s that for close grouping?’
Tuesday sees the same combination taking on the Individual Championships.
Pictures of Herbst and Sithole, courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA
Team SA in action on Tuesday 13 September
3.26pm Achmat Hassiem – 100m Freestyle S10
3.33pm Shireen Shapiro – 100m Freestyle S10
4.29pm Emily Gray – 50m Freestyle S9
11.11pm Hassiem – 100m Freestyle S10
11.17pm Shapiro – 100m Freestyle S10
00.55am (Wed) Gray – 50m Freestyle S9
3pm Anrune Liebenberg 400m T47
3.14pm Liezel Gouws 400m T37
3.40pm Dyan Buis 100m T38
3.55pm Andrea Dalle Ave long jump T37
7pm Individual Championship Test Grade III