Oscar leaves it late but still snatches gold

Oscar Pistorius on Tuesday won gold in the T44 100m in 11,17 seconds, taking the most difficult step in his quest for three gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics.

”I wouldn’t say the rest is easy,” he said of the 200m and 400m, which lie ahead of him. ”But it was just great to be out here, take in the crowd and get the gold medal.”

Because he is not the best of starters, it looked as if the race had got away from him, with Jerome Singleton of the United States approaching the finish line beating his chest in triumph.

But the man they call ”Blade Runner” — after the pair of prosthetics he wears after losing both his lower legs as an infant to a birth defect — has a gear that only really kicks in after about 80m, and he came flying past the surprised Singleton.

”I thought I had it won,” said Singleton.

Third place went to Brian Frasure of the United States in 11,50 seconds, 15 hundredths of a second ahead of South Africa’s second runner in the field, Arnu Fourie, who clocked a season’s best 11,65.

”I love being here. It was just an awesome experience to hear 60 000 people cheering like that,” said Fourie.

Earlier at the Bird’s Nest, as the national stadium is known, Zanele Situ had to be content with a ninth place in her F54-56 javelin final, Michael Louwrens with fifth in the F57/58 men’s shot put and Chenelle van Zyl with sixth in her F35/36 discus final.

Pistorius will compete in the 200m starting on Thursday, and he completes his campaign in the 400m on Sunday. — Sapa

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