Team SA Ends Paralympic Games Mission With 17 Medals
Team South Africa will return home from the 2016 Paralympic Games with 17 medals won over the course of the last week and a half of competition in Rio.
The 45-person team managed an impressive medal haul of seven gold, six silver and four bronze medals, allowing the country to achieve a 22nd place finish on the overall medal table.
The 17 medals came courtesy of numerous talented swimmers and track and field athletes.
The penultimate day of the Rio 2016 Games saw Team SA earn their final three medals, with Dyan Buis emulating fellow South African Wayde van Niekerk by winning gold in the 400m T38 final while setting a new Games record in a time of 49.43 seconds.
Meanwhile Ilse Hayes added her second silver of the Paralympics with an excellent second-place finish in the women’s 400m T13 race, while Hilton Langenhoven also earned his second medal (first one was a gold) with a silver in the 200m T12 final.
The other South African to achieve two medals at the competition was Charl du Toit, who added to his T37 gold medal in the 100m sprint with victory in the 400m T37 event.
Du Toit, who is known as ‘smiling lightning’ due to his ever-present smile when he is on the track, and especially after storming to victory, was the standout star for the South African team.
Paralympic Games mission a success
Earlier in the week two more gold medals were won by the South Africans, as veteran road cyclist Ernst van Dyk and javelin thrower Reinhardt Hamman negotiated victories in their respective disciplines.
On that same day in the evening section Ndodomzi ‘Jonathan’ Ntutu won silver in the T12 100m sprint, while and Buis snatched bronze in the T38 long jump.
Before those medals came Anrune Liebenberg with a silver in the women’s 400m T47 final, while South Africa’s flag bearer Zanele Situ secured a bronze medal in the women’s Javelin F54.
Tyrone Pillay added further silverware for SA, throwing a distance of 13.91 in his Shot Put final for bronze while setting a new South African and African record. In the same race in which Du Toit won his first gold, the T37 100m sprint, fellow SA paralympian Fanie van der Merwe emerged with the bronze medal.
Another of the stars for South Africa was 14-year- old sprinter Ntando Mahlangu, who earned the silver in the men’s 200m T42 final.
The team’s first medal at the Paralympic Games came courtesy of Kevin Paul, who won the SB9 100m event in 1min 04.86sec to win his second Paralympic gold medal after doing the same in Beijing eight years ago.
All in all a positive medal tally for Team SA, who will return to their country on Tuesday morning to be welcomed by many excited and proud South Africans at the OR Tambo International Airport.