by Sportswriter Gao Peng
BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- South African sensation
Oscar Pistorius completed a hat trick of gold medals in sprint events at the
Beijing Paralympics on Tuesday as host China crossed the 200-medal mark.
Pistorius, dubbed the "Blade Runner" for the J-shaped
carbon-fiber blades he uses, won the 400m final in a world record time of 47.49
seconds to add to his titles in 100m and 200m. He bettered his own world recod
by more than two seconds.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competes
during the final of the men's 400m T44 event at the National StadiumúČalso
known as the Bird's NestúČduring the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in
Beijing, Sept. 16, 2008. Pistorius claimed the title of the event with a
result of 47.49 seconds and set a new world record. (Xinhua
"I'm delighted to break the world record. I have a
lot of pressure on this competition," said the 21-year-old.
Pistorius was born without his fibula, the smaller of
the two bones in the lower legs, and when he was 11 months old both limbs were
amputated below the knee.
Pistorius had sought to compete in last month's
Beijing Olympics but eventually failed to reach the qualifying standard. He said
had it not been for the legal case with the International Association of
Athletics Federations (IAAF), which ruled his J-shaped blades gave him an
advantage over able-bodied athletes, he might have qualified for the
Canada's Chantal Petitclerc celebrates
after crossing the finish line during the final of the women's 1500m T54
event at the National StadiumúČalso known as the Bird's NestúČduring the
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, Sept. 16, 2008. Petitclerc
claimed the title of the event with a result of 3:39.88. (Xinhua
Meanwhile, Canadian wheelchair racer Chantal
Petitclerc reached the top of the podium for the fifth time after she clocked a
fastest time of 3 minutes 39.88 seconds in women's 1,500m T54 final.
Petitclerc, 39, had also won 100m, 200m, 400m and
800m in her class. She joins swimmers Natalie du Toit of South Africa and
Matthew Cowdrey of Australia as the most titled athlete in Beijing.
The Chinese juggernaut kept rolling on the
penultimate day of the Paralympics, raking in seven more gold medals to lead the
medal count with 87 golds and 207 in total. Britain was a distant second on the
ladder with 42 golds and 102 medals, and the United States third with 36 golds
and 98 overall.
China's athletes celebrate after the final of men's 4x400m relay T53/T54 event at the National StadiumúČalso known as the Bird's NestúČduring the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, Sept. 14, 2008. The Chinese team claimed the title of the event with a time of 3:05.67, and set a new world record. (Xinhua Photo)
Wang Fang wrapped up her second Paralympics trip with
a "double-double" as the 25-year-old Chinese added the 100m T36 gold to her 200m
title. She won both events in Athens in 2004, too.
"I feel relaxed and relieved now," said Wang. "I
haven't been back home for more than one year. I miss my family very much, and I
hope that I can have a reunion as soon as possible."
Chinese athletes celebrate during the awarding ceremony for the final of
the women's 4x100m relay T53/54 event at the National StadiumúČalso known
as the Bird's NestúČduring the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing,
Sept. 16, 2008. The Chinese team claimed the title of the event with
a time of 57.61 seconds, and set a new world record. (Xinhua
Also at the Bird's Nest stadium, the Chinese were
triumphant in two relay events - men's 4x100m relay T11-13 and women's 4x100m
Elsewhere, China claimed three team events in table
tennis, and Qi Dong snared the host nation's ninth gold in powerlifting.
Outside the sporting arena, South African amputee
swimmer Natalie du Toit and Panaman visually impaired runner Said Gomez were
named winners of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, the International
Paralympic Committee said.
Natalie du Toit of South Africa competes
during women's 100m butterfly S9 final of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic
Games in Beijing, September 7, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
Dr Whang Youn Dai, after whom the award is named,
will present the award to Du Toit and Gomez at the closing ceremony on
Whang, from South Korea, contracted polio at the age
of three, but became that country's first disabled female physician, and has
dedicated her life to working for people with disabilities. She instituted the
award at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul.
Du Toit, who won five gold medals for the second
consecutive Paralympics, was given the award after nominations were received
from the Chefs de Mission of 24 delegations, the IPC and members of the press
Gomez, 44, was competing in his fifth Paralympics,
but was travelling with national Paralympic Committee funding for the first time
after he paid for his own trips on the first four occasions.
More than 4,000 athletes from 147 countries and
regions are competing in 20 sports over five categories of disability, with 472
gold medals at stake.
Eight gold medals are up for grabs on Wednesday.