Hayes gets gold as Du Toit bows out with silver
Ilse Hayes won a gold medal in the women’s F13 long jump final, and golden girl Natalie du Toit made her farewell with a silver medal at the London Paralympic Games on Friday.
On the track for South Africa was Oscar Pistorius, who qualified for the men’s T44 400 metre final on Saturday night.
The crowd erupted for the poster boy as took the lead afer 200m and romped home in a season’s best 48.31 seconds.
Blake Leeper set an American record, winning the first heat in 50.63 seconds followed by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira, who jogged across the line in a personal best 53.02.
Hayes, winning South Africa’s sixth most-prized medal, leapt 5.70m to secure her position. Lynda Hamri of Algeria came second with 5.31m and Greece’s Anthi Karagianni completed the podium places with a best jump of 5.31m.
Du Toit bowed out of all competitive swimming by coming second in the women’s S9 100m freestyle. She said she had given her all to the sport and left without any regrets.
She was beaten to the touch by Australia’s Ellie Cole who secured the gold medal in 1:02.77. Du Toit was a 68th of a second behind her in 1:03.45.
“Ellie is a great competitor and to get second place was a little bit disappointing, but it’s still a medal and now I’m walking away from the sport,” Du Toit said as she broke down in tears.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for me, so just to be here was special and I walk away with absolutely no regrets.” Hand-cyclist Ernst van Dyk secured a silver medal in the men’s individual Paralympic H4 road race at Brands Hatch on Friday.
The 39 year-old from Ceres, in the Cape, who took the lead with a couple of kilometres to go, was beaten by a fraction of a second by former F1 racing driver Alessandro Zanardi.
The Italian, who lost both legs in a CART series (American Champ Cars) accident in 2001, clocked 2:00.32 in the 64km race, earning his second gold medal at the London Games.
“Zanardi is a smart racer and he knew if he took my wheel, he would probably get out in front of me,” said Van Dyk.
“When he came past me, he came with a lot of power and I was running low because I’d been in front for quite a bit. But that’s the risk you take when you go out in front and I’m just happy to come away with a silver.” Cyclist Stuart McCreadie came eighth in the individual H2 road race over 56km.
Other South African finalists who competed on Friday were swimmers Charles Bouwer and Hendri Herbst.
Bouwer finished fourth, just outside the medals in the men’s SM13 200m individual medley, while Herbst came seventh in the S11 400m freestyle final.
On the track, Jonathan Ntutu set a South African record with his 22.37 seconds sixth place in the men’s T13 200m final. Jan Nehro came sixth in the gruelling men’s 5000m T11 final. He ran a season’s best of 16:09.51.
South Africa collected 24 medals, and moved up to 18th on the table with six gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals.