SA shines with silvers

2004-09-26 08:45
Athens - Fanie Lombaard celebrated his 10th Paralympic medal with silver in the javelin as debutante Natalie du Toit joined the big man among the greats of world sport when she won silver to add to her four Athens Paralympics gold medals on Saturday night.

Du Toit added silver to her four golds - three of them world records - in the 100m backstroke at the Aquatic Centre.

As Du Toit creates a sensation at the Aquatic Centre, 17-year-old Pretoria Boys High schoolboy Oscar Pistorius became the phenomenon of track and field at the Olympic Stadium.

The double leg amputee followed up his 200m world record gold against single leg amputees with a bronze medal in 11.16sec - a world record for double-amputees.

"I've never run this fast in my life. My start was much better than it was before, but I relaxed a bit over the first 30m," said the likeable lad afterwards.

"I am very glad with my time, it's 0.4sec faster than I have run before and 1.1sec quicker than the world record (for double amputees)."

Pistorius, who stunned with his 21,97sec world record in the week, only started athletics in January.

Lombaard surprised himself with silver in the javelin, bringing his overall Paralympic medal haul since Atlanta 1996 to an unprecedented 10, after he won gold with a world record in the shot put, followed by his gold in the discus.

He threw 47.02m using a spare prosthetic because he broke his competition "blade" during training on Friday.

Ernst van Dyk and Fabian Michaels also claimed silvers, bringing SA's medal count to 11 gold, 12 silver and four bronze going into the penultimate day of competition on Sunday.

Ernst van Dyk won silver in the 800m wheelchair, adding to his medal tally of silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 5000m wheelchair. On Sunday he competes in the marathon.

Fabian Michaels, whose disability is cerebral palsy, also won silver in the javelin with a 42.22m throw.

Du Toit, who lost her lower left leg in a scooter accident shortly after narrowly missing out on selection to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, has left a golden trail in the pool that has made her the main feature of swimming at these Games.

She swam a personal best by two seconds in her 1:11.41 for silver behind the favourite, Canada's Stephanie Dixon who beat her world record in 1:10.01.

Du Toit said she still had dreams of qualifying in the 800m for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"There's a lot of hard work ahead because the Olympic qualifying time is 8:38 for the 800 - I've got 23 seconds to catch up in the three and half years."

Du Toit said she was tired after her hectic racing schedule.

"I've put a lot of pressure on myself. In the water you are racing for yourself, but when you win you've done it for your country and that's an amazing feeling."

She still has the 50 freestyle on Sunday.

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