At her fifth appearance for South Africa at the Paralympics, 45 year old Zanele Situ threw a personal best of 17.90 meters in the F54 seated javelin item to add bronze for the athletics squad at the Rio 2016 Games yesterday.

Situ, now a triple javelin Paralympic medallist, (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and Rio 2016), is chuffed with the result, as is her coach, Karin le Roux.

“After the first round I thought I was fourth and I was out of the medals. So in the second round I was just trying my best. I didn’t go to check my position. I was giving everything,” Situ is quoted as saying.

On the track, London 2012 silver medallist, Dyan Buis missed out on bronze by a fraction (less than 0.01s) clocking an 11.26 second dash, equal to Brazil’s Edson Pinheiro’s who got the podium after a photo finish ruling In the 100 meter T38 race.

The Stellenbosch athlete said on Facebook, “My goal was to go out and run for God, and that is what I did. I am satisfied with the outcome. I ran the second best time of my life with a bad start, just missing out on bronze.”

Fourth ranked long jumper, Andrea Dalle Ave, who is the current African record holder in the T37 division, placed fifth, equalling his London 2012 achievement with a season’s best of 5.86 meters.

“It was an extremely hard event mentally, 40 degree temperature, swirling wind and world records dropping left right and centre. But, I had a great time,” said Dalle Ave.

“My favourite part of being an athlete is the honour in representing my country, not many people get to do that,” he added.

Also on track, seventeen year old Liezel Gouws ran a 1 minute 09.08 second race for seventh place, while Anrune Liebenberg comfortably won her T47 heat to progress to today’s final.

The 400 is Liebenberg’s strongest event. The number one ranked athlete from Stellenbosch won silver in London, and is the current world champion in this category.

Joining Liebenberg on day seven (14 September) of the competition are Ntando Mahlangu (100m T42 heats), Jonathan Ntutu (100m T12 semi-finals), and Zandile Nhlapo in the shot put F34 final.

For Mahlangu, the 100 meter dash will be challenging. The fourteen year old is undoubtedly stronger over the longer distances and goes into the heats ranked fifth in his category. But, as they say, anything can happen on race day.

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