Seven gold medals for SA

2008-09-10 22:55

Wilhelm de Swardt


Things have just been getting better and better for South Africa here at the Paralympic Games.

On Wednesday the South Africans doubled their medals haul by adding another two gold, one silver and two bronze medals to their tally.

After four days' competition South Africa now boasts seven gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

Only six countries have been able to win more gold medals than this.

Philippa Johnson, who was left partly paralysed by a motor car accident, and her horse, Benedict, were responsible for one of Wednesday's great highlights by winning the individual test equestrian freestyle.

Johnson is the only other South African besides swimmer Natalie du Toit who has been able to win two gold medals thus far.

Johnson says Benedict is the one that did the hard work. All she had to do was whisper a word or two in his ear now and then.

"I don't have the words to describe what a wonderful team-mate Benedict is. I'm crazy about him."

Johnson and Benedict have been a team for the past five years.

Surprised himself

Kevin Paul (gold in the 100m breast stroke), David Roos (silver in the long jump), Fanie Lombard (bronze in the shot put), and Gavin Kilpatrick and Michael Thomson (bronze in the cycling sprint) are Wednesday's other big heroes.

The 17-year-old Paul surprised himself when he broke the 100m world breast stroke record twice in the space of eight hours.

Paul's winning time in the final was 1 minute 8.58 seconds, which was nearly two seconds faster than the previous world record.

"I can't believe it. It still has to sink in that I'm a Paralympic champion," he said.

With his last effort, Lombard secured the bronze medal in the shotput. This Paralympic legend now boasts seven gold, two silver and two bronze medals, the best performance by a South African athlete.

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