Saturday (17 September) was the last day of track and field action at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games which witnessed South African athletes adding three more medals – gold, and two silver – to take the tally to seventeen.

Stellenbosch’ Dyan Buis ran an incredible race to win gold in a new Paralympic record time of 49.46 seconds, very close to the world record (49.33s), in the 400 meter T38 final. Silver went to China’s Jianwen Hu (50.27s RR), and bronze to Columbian Weiner Javier Diaz Mosquera (51.44s RR).

“I was quite emotional after the race because I know we worked hard this season, to get a result like this tonight is marvelous. The draw was perfect for me and I am grateful for the support. I ran it for my wife and daughter,” a very happy Buis said afterwards.

In the 400 meter T13 event, Ilse Carstens (nee Hayes), who has now represented the country at four consecutive Games, added another medal with a silver (56.49s) behind Nantenin Keita (55.78s) from France. Bronze went to Ukraine’s Leilia Adzhametova (56.60s).

“I started my Paralympic career with a bronze in the 400 in Athens (2004) and bettered that with a silver result today so, it not being my main event, I am happy with the result.”

Next up, Hilton Langenhoven, who already won gold in the long jump, won silver on the day for South Africa behind Cuba’s Leinier Savon Pineda (22.23s) in the 200m T12 dash. A closely contested bronze went to Morocco’s Mahdi Afri in a personal best time of 22.57 seconds.

“It is a fantastic way to end the Games and to, once again, contribute to the team’s medals tally. It will most probably be my last Paralympic track appearance for South Africa as I will be focusing on long jump ahead of Worlds. I am chuffed with my performance,” said Langenhoven.

On the field, javelin bronze medalist, Zanele Situ threw a personal best measuring 14.96 in the F55 discus event placing her tenth in the competition. Following suit, Cape Town long jumper, Mpumelelo Mhlongo produced a season’s best leap measuring 6.79 meters placing him sixth overall out of a line-up of twelve in the T44 final.

Only one South African, legendary Ernst van Dyk, is competing on the last day (18 September) of the Games. Van Dyk, who added gold for South Africa in the H5 road race, will be looking to add an 18th medal for the team in the hand-cycling marathon.

Writen by: Liezel van Rensburg / Photo credit: Martin Potgieter