Oscar opens bid for 3 golds

2008-09-08 16:54

Beijing - Oscar Pistorius began his bid to win three gold medals in the Beijing Paralympics, clocking the fastest time ON Monday in heats of the 100m.

The South African, who failed in an attempt to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, ran a personal-best time of 11.16 seconds in the sprint. The next best times went to three Americans: Jerome Singleton (11.48), Brian Frasure (11.49) and Marlon Shirley (11.77).

Pistorius will also run the 200 and 400, hoping to better his performance four years ago in the Athens Paralympics where he won a gold and bronze.

The double amputee, known as the "Blade Runner" because of the prosthetic legs he races on, won a legal battle in May for the right to run in the Olympics. However, subsequently he failed to meet the qualifying time standard.

Forty-one medals were awarded on Monday, the second day of the Paralympics. China leads with 28 medals overall - eight gold. The United States also has eight gold medals and 17 overall.

South African swimmer Natalie du Toit won her second gold in two days, winning the 100 freestyle after taking the 100 butterfly on Sunday. She's attempting to win five gold medals in Beijing.

The United States took three of the 18 golds in swimming to lead that tally. The medals went to Jessica Long, Erin Popovich and Anna Eames.

Longest winning streak

The 10 gold medals on Monday in track and field were scattered around with China taking two to top that tally. Cuba, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Algeria, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands each took a gold medal.

Medals awarded in other events included track cycling (5), equestrian (2), judo (4) and shooting (2).

One of the longest winning streaks in sports stayed in place as The Netherlands' Esther Vergeer defeated Daniela Di Toro 6-2, 6-0 to extend her string to 345 consecutive victories in a first-round match in wheelchair tennis.

The 27-year-old Vergeer has won four gold medals in the last two Paralympic Games - in singles and doubles - and will look to repeat again in Beijing.

Di Toro is a former top-ranked player and the last to defeat Vergeer. That was 5 years ago.

"It was an important match and I was kind of nervous in the first couple of games," Vergeer said. "A couple of years ago she was my biggest rival. The stadium is full and there are a lot of people watching, and that is also very different from what we are used to."

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