Slattery adds more gold

2004-09-24 18:26
Athens - Tadgh Slattery, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy, made a spectacular comeback from retirement for gold in the 100m breaststroke at the Athens Paralympics on Friday night - then announced his retirement "for good".

Slattery, a seasoned swimmer who excelled at Atlanta 1996, conceded to silver in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke in Sydney 2000, after which he announced his retirement.

His decision to return resulted in jubilation for the livewire swimmer, who powers through the water with his arms only as his legs trail behind him.

"Yes," he bellowed after touching the side at 1min 33,01sec, ahead of world record holder Kasper Engel of Holland who swam 1:35,98.

Slattery came into the swimming competition bald-headed and raised his arms in triumph when he hauled himself out of the pool. He then kissed his biceps for their sterling work in the water.

His victory brought to 10 South Africa's gold medal tally.

'Now I'm really going to retire," said Slattery, 33, through an interpreter. "I've just got the 50m freestyle to go, then I'm finished.

"My parents have supported me up to now and it's time that I get a job. I had a fantastic swim, though I feel wonderful."

Phillipa Johnson, riding borrowed horse Burgmans Benedict, won her second silver medal at the Athens Paralympics in individual dressage at the Markopoulo Equestrian Centre on Friday.

Johnson, who earlier this week claimed silver in equestrian dressage, came close to gold with superb routines in the early rounds of the individual dressage, then succumbed to Norway's Ann Cathrin Lubbe on Zanko - the same rider who won gold in their first encounter - with an overall percentage of 78.273.

Lubbe took gold with 79.318 and Canada's Karen Brain on Dasskara won bronze with 77.277.

Going into the night session, South Africa sported nine gold, eight silver and one bronze.

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