SA team finish on high note

2004-09-27 21:23
Athens - Malcolm Pringle followed up his 800m golden world record with a silver medal in the 400m and seasoned swimmer Scott Field bowed out with three silvers and a bronze in the 50m freestyle when Athens Paralympic action came to an end on Monday night.

Pringle, who dedicated his 800m 1:58.90 gold medal to his late best friend, Paralympic shot-put athlete Gert van der Merwe, challenged world record-holder Tim Sullivan of Australia all the way for the 400 title.

But the lively athlete conceded by the slightest of margins in a thrilling race with a season's best 51.51sec to the Australian's 51.41.

Field, competing in his last Paralympics because he needs to settle down working as a computer programmer in Cape Town, won three silvers in the 100 butterfly (1:01.75), 400 freestyle (4:30.19) and 100 freestyle 55.36sec.

He would have loved a golden finish in Monday night's 50m freestyle final, but had to settle for bronze in 25.48sec.

'I ran the perfect race out there'

"That's my last race, but my best time," said Field after conceding to Russia's Andrey Strokin (24.88) and Taiganidis Charalampos (24.97).

"I'm ecstatic about that. I was between the two fastest guys and used them to pace myself.

"As much as you can, you have to pace yourself in a 50m. I'm very happy to end on a high."

Pringle was just as happy with his silver. "I ran the perfect race out there," said Pringle (cerebral palsy) afterwards.

"He (Sullivan) beat me by a bit. I thought I had it. But I'm very tired emotionally, mentally and physically because I put everything into that 800 for Gert.

"I'm really happy to get another medal at these Games."

Pringle's silver, with bronze medals won by Ilse Hayes (visually impaired) and Adriaan Nel (cerebral palsy) in cycling brought South Africa's medal count to 15 gold, 13 silver and seven bronze.

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