The first day of competition, at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, produced two medals, a new record, some best performances and some challenges for South Africa.
Tyrone Pillay started things off in the highly competitive F42 shot put placing fourth with a season’s best of 12.96 meters.
Gold went to World Record holder Aled Davies who broke his own Championship Record (14.71m) with a heave measuring 14.95 meters.
Iran’s Sajad Mohammadian set a new Asian Record (14.54m) for silver, with Frank Tinnemeier taking bronze with his throw of 14.33 meters – a new personal best for the German.
In discus F44, newcomer Lean Simon ended with no mark.
On track, Fanie van der Merwe dashed to bronze in the 200m T37 final with a time of 22.99 seconds – a new personal best (PB) and African Record – while Charl du Toit finished fourth with a PB of 23.20 seconds.
Gold, and the new World Record went to Russia’s Andrey Vdovin (22.59) and silver to China’s Guangxu Shang with a time of 22.70 seconds for a new Asian Record.
“It is a special moment for Fanie to finish his career at world championships level in the 200m with a PB and first ever sub 23 seconds. Not a lot of athletes can claim to finish so strong,” says Coach Suzanne Ferreira.
In T38 action, China’s Jianwen Hu sprinted to 200m gold in 22.22 seconds, with South Africa’s Dyan Buis taking silver with a season’s best of 22.75 seconds. Hu’s countryman, Wenjun Zhou clinched the bronze (22.94) and SA’s Union Sekailwe ended sixth with a time of 23.48 seconds.
The day closed with a disappointed Jonathan Ntutu who was red carded for a false start in the 100m T12 semi-finals. Ntutu will be back in action in the 200 meter later on in the competition.
T11 – track, visual impairment
T/F37 – 38 track/field, cerebral palsy
T/F42 – 44 track/field, amputee/limb deficiencies
written by: Liezel van Rensburg
photo credit: Martin Potgieter / Bonzai Photography