Pistorius, Hayes shine
Johannesburg - Star attractions Oscar Pistorius and Ilse Hayes claimed their first gold in perfect conditions on the first-day of the National Championships for the Physically Disabled, presented by the South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) on Monday.
Four-time Paralympic champion Pistorius sailed through his first race at the Olympia Park Stadium, dominating the men's 100-metre final (T43) from the start to finish in 11.26 seconds.
Although it was quite a way off his world record of 10.91, he was upbeat about his performance.
"I'm extremely happy with that performance," he said. "Because I'm focusing on the 400m at the moment, I'm happy anytime I can run this kind of time.
"This is a great track and I'm really looking forward to the 200m tomorrow and 400m on Wednesday." Hayes showed little sign of the Achilles tendon problem that forced her to withdraw from the long jump. She raced to the finish in the women's 100m (T13) in 12.96 seconds, but the 26-year-old was quick to point out that she didn't run at top speed.
"I got off to a good start but I didn't run full out," said Hayes, who claimed gold in the 200m and long jump at the IPC World Championships in January. "We are not working on sprints at the moment, so I just wanted to make sure I finish within the qualifying time. I have the European season coming up, so I need to protect this Achilles tendon niggle."
Teboho Mokgalagadi, who also claimed two gold medals in New Zealand, ran a sub-13 in the 100m (T35).
"I had a lightning start and it helps that our race was combined with the T38s," said the sprinter. "I enjoyed running against Dyan Buis (T38) from the Western Province, because he pushed me to catch him. That's always nice, to have a little competition."
IPC World Championship silver medallist Fanie van der Merwe was less impressed with himself after blitzing the 100m track in 12.09 in the T37 class.
"I'm disappointed," the Western Province athlete admitted.
"Yes, I finished well under the qualifying time, which was the first goal, but I wanted to run under 12 seconds. I didn't get out of the blocks quick enough, but I ran the rest of the race well."
And there were two great results in the field. Gauteng's Philip Mjeza's effort in the javelin hit the 13.56 meter mark for a new South African record in the Boys' 16 Division, while Kwa-Zulu Natal's Ashish Ramsurrup bettered his own SA record of 24.98 with a mammoth throw of 28.63 meters.
"I've got my heart set on making the 2012 Paralympic team for London," said the 22-year-old chemical engineering student. "I've been working with two coaches on technique and fitness and it's great to see the results of all the work I've put in over the last couple of months."
In the shot put, Zandile Nhlapo of Gauteng also set a record in the women division with a throw of 5.60 meters, while Tiaan Huyzer of North West threw 7.33 meters to set a Boys 16 record.