Oscar simply unstoppable

2008-09-16 21:02
The Blade Runner
Wilhelm de Swardt

Beijing - Not even a cold could prevent Oscar Pistorius from winning the 400m (T44 class) in a world record time at the Paralympic Games on Tuesday.

Pistorius won in 47.49 seconds, picking up his third gold medal in the process. Hiis winning time was more than 3 seconds faster than that of Jim Bob Bizzell of the US, who was second in 50.98.

Coach Ampie Louw believes Pistorius could have run even faster.

“Tonight Oscar ran only on determination. Just go and have look at the video. You'll see how Oscar begins to tire towards the end. He didn't have the strength any longer to lift his legs properly. He has been battling for close on a week to shake off the virus.”

Pistorius didn't want to talk about his illness. "To have taken part in the very last race of this year's Paralympic Games was an unbelievable honour and a very emotional moment. The world record is also very special to me. My goal was to win three gold medals and break three world records. I couldn't manage it in the 100 or the 200, but fortunately I was quick enough in the 400.

“Tonight (Tuesday) I didn't run only for myself, but for the whole of South Africa, that is why it was more than important for me to do well. The world has to know that we South Africans are winners.”

Louw says many South Africans don't realise what great ambassadors Pistorius and swimmer Natalie du Toit are for South Africa.

“Actually, not only the two of them. I think the whole South African Paralympic team deserves praise. Even countries like Germany have come to congratulate me on our athletes' performance.

Receive a pittance

“When I told them how small the budget was with which we prepared for the Games, quite a few of them were very surprised.”

Louw mentioned that the R1m promised to medalists at the Games has been upped slightly. He still believes, however, that it is a shame that each medalist will receive such a pittance.

“Why should it be the sponsors that reward the athletes for international achievements? Why does Sascoc do nothing for them?"

Pistorius's win means that South Africa has won 21 gold medals, 6 more than in 2004 in Athens.

The two Fanies and Hilton Langenhoven provided South Africa's other three golden moments on Tuesday.

Fanie Lombard won the discus event (F42 class) and Fanie van der Merwe the 200m (T37).

The 22-year-old Van der Merwe's winning time of 23.83 secs is a new world record.

Langenhoven won the 200m (T12 class) in 21.94 secs.

Ilse Hayes came second in pouring rain in the 100m (T13 class).

Ernst van Dyk will be the last South African to be seen in action at the Games on Wednesday. He will take part in the wheelchair marathon (T54 class).



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