Gold: 1 -‐ Kevin Paul -‐ Swimming Silver: 0
Bronze: 0 Total: 1
Golden boy Paul picks up Team South Africa’s opening medal in Rio 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa’s Paralympic medal chase is off to a golden start after swimmer Kevin Paul powered his way to breaststroke gold in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday night.
Paul, 25, won the SB9 100-metre event in 1min 04.86sec to win his second Paralympic gold medal after doing the same in Beijing eight years ago.
In London four years ago, Paul had to settle for silver in his keynote event.
Paul, formerly of Port Elizabeth but now training in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal with national swimming coach Graham Hill, got off to a great start.
But at the halfway mark he was lying second and Ukraine swimmer Denys Dubrov looked to have stolen a march on the South African. But Paul is noted for his strong finish and that came to the fore as he got up to edge Dubrov into silver (1.05.10).
Earlier Paul had dominated his heat, winning in 1:06.19 to book his place in the final.
’It wasn’t my personal best but tonight was never about time, it was about getting into that pool and getting to the 100m first. I can jump into the pool next week and swim a faster time but it’s not going to get me a Paralympic gold,’ said Paul after getting gold.
‘My coach and I discussed this beforehand and it was about going out comfortably and steady.’ ‘Looking back at Beijing and getting on to those blocks as a 17-year-old and getting away with a gold I
don’t think I really knew what it meant but but I truly appreciate it now and also how much work goes into it.’
Referring to his training group, Paul said: ‘It’s such a competitive group and you get there at 5am and just see everyone there with the same goal as you. It wasn’t just me in the pool tonight, it was the whole squad, coach and family etc.’
Paul can now take a bit of a breather before his 200 Individual Medley later in the Games.
In other swimming action teenager Alani Ferreira started what could be a long and successful Paralympic career as she competed in the S13 100m butterfly.
She ended sixth in 1:24.23, more than 17sec off the pace but the Epworth High School (Pietermaritzburg) schoolgirl can be excused her share of debutant nerves.
Although she failed to progress to the final, she was still over the moon, if a little shell-shocked.
‘Wow wow wow wow wow….what an experience! It hit me on my way to the call room that I was at the Paralympics.
‘I felt ready to go for it but when I got behind the block my legs did not agree, they went numb, and nerves and the shock hit me like a brick wall. I hit a blank and went out way too fast but I can surely say I tried my best.
‘And despite all my first time race effects I still swam an S13 100m fly African record and have had the experience of a life time swimming my first ‘big race’ which I will never forget.
‘Now its time to focus on the next one, and really push myself to the limit. This is definitely the beginning of something new.’
Ferreira certainly has something to look forward to as she qualified in no fewer than four events for Rio at the nationals in Durban earlier this year.
In track action it was Hilton Langenhoven in T12 400m semi-final action and there was heartache for the veteran Olympian as he ended second in 49.99 behind Portugal’s Luis Goncalves (49.99) but ended up being disqualified for running outside his lane.
Langenhoven had opened his Rio road with an easy victory in the heats as he cantered to a season’s best 50.26.
T44 track action saw Arnu Fourie safely through to the final of the T44 100m action.
And he was part of a Paralympic record race as 2012 Paralympian gold medallist Jonnie Peacock won in 10.81sec. Fourie, a gold medal winner in 2012 as part of the 4x400m relay team, clocked 11.19 to book his place in the final.
In the second heat fellow South African Mpumi Mhlongo was fifth in 11.33 as Kiwi Liam Malone blitzed to a T43 record or 10.90.
Mhlongo, originally from KwaZulu-Natal but now studying at UCT, blasted out of the blocks to be right up there but fell back in the final 30m.
And two-time Paralympian Roxy Burns was the first Team SA cyclist in action in the C1-3 3km Individual Pursuit.
The Cape Town rider ended 11th in 4min 43.478sec. That was 38.098 behind winner Megan Giglia of Great Britain.
But there was consolation in disappointment as she is in action in three separate events in Rio and this was certainly not her best event.
The world record got smashed twice during the day’s action and as cycling coach Ricky Kulsen (he served in the same position four years ago in London) said: ‘She rode a personal best as a C3 athlete. She lost valuable time by riding too wide but otherwise it was good.’
Her previous best was a 4:46
Team SA experience spectacular opening ceremony… now for the action!
By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa’s 2016 Paralympic Games campaign took another step forward in Rio de Janeiro close to midnight on Wednesday (SA time) with a spectacular opening ceremony.
The ceremony was at the iconic Maracana Stadium, the same stadium used for the Olympic Games last month.
Numbering 45 in total, Team SA are smaller team than 2012 in London, but just as proud of heart and with heaps of spirit, were the second team into the stadium.
In an unusual and very real aspect to the ceremony, bright lights were used to temporarily ‘blind’ the crowd in an attempt to drum home to spectators the reality that Paralympic athletes face, forcing them to rely on other senses such as hearing.
As usual some of the team-members missed out on the magic moments as competition is scheduled to get underway on Thursday.
The first South African in action (and let it be said, a very real medal contender) in the pool is Port Elizabeth’s Kevin Paul, a ‘veteran’ Paralympic campaigner. Now living in Durban where he trains under national coach Graham Hill, Paul goes off in the 100-metre breaststroke heats (SB9 classification).
That’s at 3.17pm SA time and he’ll be followed by new kid on the block, Alani Ferreira. Also from KwaZulu-Natal, Ferreira is in action in 100m butterfly (S13) heats at 5.16pm.
Finals for both events make for red-eye stuff, Paul at 11.06pm and Ferreira even later at 12.46am on Friday.
Two other codes see action today, in the shape of athletics and cycling.
Three athletes line up, with Hilton Langenhoven in the T12 400m heats (4.56pm) and semi-finals (11.38pm SA time), Paralymic debutant Mphumi Mlongo and another ‘veteran’ Arnu Fourie in the T44 100m heats (10.42pm) and Liezel Gouws in the T37 100m heats (12.51am)
Roxy Burns is the lone cyclist and her qualifying round of the individual pursuit (C1-3) is at 3pm on Thursday afternoon and if she goes through to the final she’ll be in the saddle once more at 9.30pm Opening ceremony picture courtesy of Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA
SuperSport will broadcast two 24-hour channels (SS13 and SS14) in High Definition for the duration of the Games with producers choosing the best of four feeds from Olympic Broadcast Services. What isn’t broadcast live will be broadcast on a delayed basis.
The popular Blitz channel will carry regular Paralympic news items, while the two TV channels will be available via streaming via www.supersport.com and the SuperSport and DStv Now apps, as well as social platforms and DStv Catch Up.
Daily two-hour highlights packages will be scheduled on SS Select and SS9.
TEAM SA APP for Paralympics.
Following on from the Olympic Games, Team SA has its own App for all South African sports supporters wanting to follow Team SA athletes at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Loads of information can be found on the very easy to navigate App, bringing you results, competition schedules, athlete profiles, images and videos of the athletes plus more.
The App is free, users can download the App and it’s available globally. https://itunes.apple.com/za/app/teamsarise/id1133481695?mt=8 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…
Support your team and keep up to date on daily sporting events in Rio with #TeamSArise mobile.
Results from Thursday 8 September 2016
Kevin Paul – 100m Breaststroke SB 9 (1st in his heat with a time of 1:06.19)
Alani Ferreira – 100, Butterfly S13 (6th in her heat with a time of 1:24.23) did not qualify for the finals. Finals:
Kevin Paul – 100m Breaststroke SB 9 (GOLD – winning time of 1:04.86) ATHLETICS:
Hilton Langenhoven -‐ 400m T12 (1st in his heat in a time of 50.26 and qualifies for the semi-‐finals) Mpumulelo Mhlongo/Arnu Fourie -‐ 100m T44 (Mhlongo 11.33, did not qualify/Fourie 11.19 qualifies for final) Hilton Langenhoven -‐ Semi-‐finals 400m T12 – (Disqualified for line infringement, does not run in final) Leizel Gouws -‐ 100m T37 heats (finished 4th with a time of 14.88 and qualified for the finals)
Roxy Burns Individual pursuit C1-‐3 (3000m) – Finished 11th in a time of 4.43.478 and did not qualify for the finals.
Athletes in action on Friday 9 September 2016
Day 2 -‐ 9 September SWIMMING:
10.22am (3.22pm CAT) Shireen Shapiro – 50m Freestyle S10 10.27am (3.27pm CAT) Henri Herbst – 100m Backstroke S11 11.01am (4.01CAT) Emily Gray – 400m Freestyle S9 Potential Finals:
18.54 (11.54pm CAT) Shireen Shapiro – 50m Freestyle S10
19.16 (00.16am CAT) Henri Herbst – 100m Backstroke S11
19.59 (00.59 CAT) Emily Gray – 400m Freestyle S9 Potential Medal presentation:
20.17 (01.17am CAT) Shireen Shapiro – 50m Freestyle S10
20.39 (01.39am CAT) Henri Herbst – 100m Backstroke S11
21.13 (02.13am CAT) Emily Gray – 400m Freestyle S9
17.36 (10.36pm CAT) Leizel Gouws -‐ 100m T37 final
18.45 (11.45pm CAT) potential medal presentation Leizel Gouws
20.00 (01.00am CAT) Arnu Fourie -‐ 100m T44 final
20.42 (01.42am CAT) potential medal presentation (Arnu Fourie) CYCLING:
16.30 (9.30pm CAT) Dane Wilson -‐ Individual kilo C4-‐5
18.13 (11.13 CAT) medal presentation (Dane Wilson -‐ Individual kilo C4-‐5) TENNIS:
11.00am (4pm CAT) Eliphas Maripa -‐ Men’s singles WT01-‐04 11.00am (4pm CAT) Leon Els – Men’s singles WT01-‐04 11.00am (4pm CAT) Lucas Sithole – Quad’s singles WT01-‐04 ROWING:
08.30am (1.30pm CAT) Sandra Khumalo AS Women’s tx 10.30am (3.30pm CAT)
Willie Morgan, Shannon Murray, Lucy Perold, Dylan Trollope, Dieter Rosslee LTA mixed 4+