LONDON, England ● The men’s 200m – T44 final looks like being a hotly-contested race on Day 4 of London 2012 after Oscar Pistorius put down a marker with a world record-breaking display on Saturday night.
The South African asserted his dominance on the Paralympic stage by getting the defence of his three titles off to a flying start by recording a winning time of 21.30 in the heats.
Prior to the Games, only one man – the USA’s Blake Leeper – had run faster across 200m than Pistorius this season, but competition will also come in the shape of Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira, who delivered the second fastest time of the heats, and Jerome Singleton, Pistorius’ main rival over the shorter 100m distance.
Despite facing tougher competition than ever before, Pistorius admits he is delighted with the development of Paralympic Athletics.
‘It is great to have rivals in the sport evolving,’ he said. ‘You’ve seen the likes of Jonnie Peacock (100m) and Jerome Singleton (100m, 200m), Blake Leeper (100m, 200m, 400m) and Arnu Fourie (100m, 200m) pop up in the last year. It’s phenonmenal and it’s great to see the sport evolving like that.’
Great Britain’s David Weir will be hoping to give the home support something to cheer about as he competes in his first final of the Games.
Weir came through the third heat of the men’s 5000m – T54 in first place, but will face stiff competition in the final from Switzerland’s Marcel Hug and Julien Casoli of France, who have both posted quicker times than the Londoner this year, and Prawat Wahoram of Thailand, who took gold in Beijing four years ago.
The medal action continues at the Aquatics Centre, where world record holder Valerie Grand-Maison will be hoping her time away from the sport will not have affected her chances of retaining gold in the women’s 100m Freestyle – S13. The Canadian swimmer took a break from the pool after winning gold at the Beijing 2008 Games.
Day 4 sees the last Rowing action at Eton Dorney, where Great Britain’s Tom Aggar looks to defend his men’s Single Sculls – ASM1x gold medal and add yet another title to his already-significant trophy cabinet.
Having taken up the sport in 2007, Aggar already has a staggering four World Championship wins and a Beijing 2008 gold medal to his name.
Elsewhere, there will be medals in Track Cycling, Equestrian, Powerlifting, Shooting and Table Tennis.