Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Blade Runner" leaves field behind in 100m

One gold medal down in the Beijing Paralympics and two to go for sprinter Oscar Pistorius.

Despite a slow start on a wet track, the South African won the most difficult of his three races, clocking 11.17 on Tuesday to take gold at 100 meters. American Jerome Singleton was just behind with 11.20, and Brian Frasure of the United States got bronze with 11.50.

"Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius from South Africa crosses the finish line ahead of Jerome Singleton of the United States during the final of men's 100m T44 of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing, China, Sept. 9, 2008. Pistorius claimed the title of the event with a time of 11.17 seconds.
Pistorius will be a strong favorite to win the 200m and 400m.

The double amputee, known as the "Blade Runner" because of the prosthetic legs he races on, won a legal battle in May for the right to run in the Olympics. However, he subsequently failed to meet the qualifying time standard.

"I had a tough start and a slow first 30 meters," Pistorius said of the 100m. "I really just pulled out all the stops."

Pistorius still has his sights set on qualifying for the Olympics.

"I'm looking forward to London 2012," he said.

Pistorius' medal event was one of 20 on the track Tuesday in the third day of competition.

Swimming offered 16 with 7 in cycling and two dozen more in shooting, judo, equestrian, and powerlifting.

American Erin Popovich won her third gold medal in the pool, taking the 100m breaststroke for her disability class. She has also won gold in the 200m IM and the 100m freestyle.

Popovich won seven gold medals in Athens. She will go for only six this time as her other gold in 2004 came in a relay, which has been cut from the program.

Through three days, China leads with 16 gold and 53 overall. Britain is No. 2 with 14 gold and 32 overall. The United States is No. 3 with 10 gold and 26 overall.

More than 4,000 competitors from nearly 150 countries and regions are battling for 472 gold medals in 20 sports at the eye-catching venues used for the Olympics such as the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube.

The sports at the Paralympics, which end on Sept. 17, include athletics, swimming, powerlifting, wheelchair fencing and five-a-side and seven-a-side football, as well as the lesser-known goalball and boccia.

Source: Shanghai Daily/Agencies