Van Dyk continues SA charge

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

BEIJING - South Africa opened the eighth day of the 13th Paralympic Games yesterday magnificently when Ernst van Dyk won gold in the men's individual road race at the Triathlon Venue.

The veteran cyclist won the 48,4km race in a time of 1hr:21min:40sec.

His gold was the 16th for South Africa before last night's events and his display capped a good outing for the country's Paralympians at the weekend.

Van Dyk is understandably thrilled with his achievement considering that he has been unsuccessful in his gold attempt in the previous Games. He has two silver and two bronze medals from the previous Paralympics.

"I'm over the moon for winning gold here because I waited for 16 years to win it," said the 35-year-old.

"Winning the race is the biggest thing to me. It was a lot different from my daily training. The two Americans [Alejandro Albor and Oz Sanchez] followed me closely on the last lap but luckily I had something left in my tank so I kept pushing forward."

Swimmer Shireen Sapiro also put a smile on the faces of South Africans with another gold on Saturday in the women's 100m backstroke S10. She shared the gold and the record with New Zealander Sophie Pascoe as they both clocked 1:10,57 at the National Aquatics Centre.

Ilse Hayes, Fanie van der Merwe and Natalie du Toit claimed gold in their respective events on Friday.

Hayes succeeded in the women's long jump F13 with a season's best 5,68m jump.

Van der Merwe won the men's 100m T37 with a Paralympic record of 11,83 and Du Toit shone in the women's 400m freestyle S9 with a world record of 4:23:81. Teboho Mokgalagadi and Tadhg Slattery pocketed bronze in the men's 100 T35 and men's 100m breaststroke SB5.