Day One (8 September) of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games produced South Africa’s first gold medal in the form of swimmer, Kevin Paul who produced a strong finish to beat Ukrainian, Denys Dubrov (1:05.10) in the SB9 100 meter breaststroke clocking 1 minute 04.86 seconds.

On the track, Arnu Fourie, bronze winner in the 100 at the London 2012 Games, ran an 11.19 to finish second, behind reigning European and Paralympic champion, Jonnie Peacock (10.81s PR) of Great Britain, to secure his spot in today’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ 100m T44 final that will feature a highly competitive line-up.

In the second heat, Mpumelelo Mhlongo got off to a quick start but missed out on a finals spot placing fifth with a season’s best time of 11.33 seconds. He will be back in action in long jump on day day ten of the competition.

After comfortably winning his 400m heat earlier in the day, T12 athlete, Hilton Langenhoven, who is competing in his fourth consecutive Paralympics and won silver in the 400 in London, ended second in the semi-final with a time of 49.99 seconds but was disqualified for lane infringement.

Last up, making her Paralympic debut, seventeen year old Liezel Gouws closed things off on the track for South Africa by running a season’s best for fourth place in 14.88 seconds – enough to get her through of the 100m T37 final.

Gouws and Fourie will be back at Maracana Stadium in tonight’s finals with the T44 100m race undoubtedly being the race to watch as the world’s fastest blade sprinters go for gold. Peacock, having broken his own London 2012 Paralympic Record in the heat, is the man to beat.

The 100m T44 Final takes place tonight at 7:53pm (12:53am SA time).