Natalie Wins Gold For SA
Team South Africa bagged their first gold medal of the London Paralympic Games when Natalie du Toit won the women's 100 metres butterfly S9 final on Thursday evening.
Having breezed through the heats in the morning session, she went on to win the final, for the third time in succession, in one minute, 9.30 seconds (1:09.30).
'I'm relieved to have got the first race out the way but a little disappointed with my time,' Du Toit said.
'I think I could have done a bit more, but that was my race and I can't complain now.
'Tomorrow is 100m backstroke and that's more of a challenge so I've got to concentrate on that one now.'
Sarai Gascon of Spain (1:09.79 ) and Elizabeth Stone from America (1:10.10 ) were second and third respectively in the closely contested race.
Du Toit, taking part in the Paralympics for the last time, will compete in the 100m backstroke on Friday, followed by the 100m breaststroke later in the week, and she will also attempt to defend her titles in the 200m individual medley, 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle events.
Kevin Paul finished fourth in the men's 200m individual medley SM10 final after winning his heat in the morning session.
Paul said he surprised with his performance in the heats, setting an African record and a personal best time of 2:14.97.
'I'm only aiming to peak on day nine for my main event -- the 100m breaststroke,' Paul said.
'It would be hard to maintain that level throughout the nine days so my coach and I decided to sacrifice a few events, which included this one.
'I'm older and more focussed than I was in Beijing and I can take more pressure.
'So I qualified for few more events just to build up to the 100m breaststroke and I wouldn't be able to sit in the village for nine days doing nothing so this is just keeping me busy for my main event.'
In men's track cycling, Jaco Nel produced a personal best time in the 1km individual C1-2-3 time trial event at the Velodrome, cheered on by 6 000 spectators.
Riding in the C2 category, Nel set a temporary Paralympic record with his one kilometre sprint in 1:18.488, but his record was short-lived as Tobias Graf of Germany, who rode immediately after him, set a new C2 world record of 1:15.858.
The South African finished 11th overall, as the event comprised cyclists from the three different classifications.
The 35 year-old will be back at the Velodrome on Friday, in the individual C2 pursuit qualifying event, and will also turn out in the road time trial at Brands Hatch next week.
Roxanne Burns was less fortunate on the cycling track as she failed to qualify for the women's individual C4 pursuit.
She finished last out of the six entrants, in 4:40.874, but still has the C4-5 500m track race to look forward to on Saturday.
Wendy Moller and Anthony Dawson took part in the team test grade 2 Equestrian event, finishing 13th and 15th respectively, while Marion Milne came 10th in the grade 1B event.
Riders first complete in the team test within their grades, followed by the individual championship test.
The scores of both tests are added together to make the team score, with the best three scores across all the grades counting.
Individual medals are also awarded for each grade on the merit of the individual championship test.