sa gold rush at games
BEIJING - Day two of the Paralympics ended well for South African athletes when they won three gold medals and a bronze in different events last night.
The gold medallists were swimmers Carl Bouwer and Natalie du Toit, and Philippa Johnson who triumphed in the equestrian event in Hong Kong.
Nicholas Newman grabbed bronze in the men's javelin at the Bird's Nest. This brought the total number of medals for the South Africans to five since the Games started on Sunday.
The 18-year-old Bouwer admitted yesterday that he was surprised by his gold medal triumph in the 400m freestyle S13, and more so by his new world record.
But he stressed that the experience he gained at the 2004 Athens Olympics at the age of 14 helped him to prevail yesterday. Bouwer won in 4min:14,02sec, breaking the world record of 4:16,20.
"I'm wordless to express both my astonishment and happiness today. I'm now more motivated for my next events," he said.
Du Toit won gold in the women's 100m freestyle S9 in a Paralympic record of 1:01,44.
She said: "I was expecting to do a little more than I did [today] but I got out there and I just did my best."
Johnson, 34, won with a percentage score of 69,290, while riding Benedict. Newman got 1147 points with a season's best of 42,48m.
Oscar Pistorius and Armu Fourie qualified for the final of the men's 100m T44.
But not all the South Africans who competed yesterday shone.
Beth Nothling finished seventh in the women's 50m backstroke S5, Shireen Sapiro came eighth in women's 100m butterfly S10 and the national wheelchair basketball team suffered their second consecutive defeat in the Games after Canada beat them 80-55 at USTB Gymnasium.
Team SA's schedule for today (SA time): Shireen Sapiro - women's 100m freestyle S10 heat (3.34am); Adri Visser - women's 200m freestyle S5 heat (4.15am); Janos Plekker - men's 1km Time Trial (CP 4) finals (6am); South Africa v Germany - men's wheelchair basketball Pool A preliminary match (6.15am); Mark Frenzel - equestrian championship test Grade Ia final (11am); Marion Milne equestrian Grade Ib final (2.50pm).
H S1 through to S10 are for competitors with physical disabilities and S11, S12 and S13 are for swimmers with impairments - (Mcelwa Nchabeleng is in China as a guest of Sasol)