x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Vahdani just misses out as Smyth and Pistorius break Paralympic records

Emirati Paralympics hopeful Mohammed Vahdani missed out on a place in the athletics finals for the second consecutive day, as records tumbled on the track at the 2012 Games.

Oscar Pistorius sets a new world record in the men's 200m T44 heat at London 2012
Oscar Pistorius sets a new world record in the men's 200m T44 heat at London 2012

LONDON // For the second consecutive day at the 2012 London Paralympics Games, the UAE's Mohammed Vahdani was unlucky to miss out on a place in the final rounds of the athletics events, finishing just outside the qualifying grades in the 100 metres yesterday.

After finishing fourth in the T54 (classification for wheelchair athletes) 5,000m heats on Friday and missing the final by one place and 0.62 seconds, the 32 year old came in fifth in the T54 100m qualifiers at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.

Unfortunately for Vahdani, he found himself in the same heat where Leo Peka Tahti of Finland clocked a world record time of 13.63 seconds. Vahdani registered 14.52 in fifth, only 0.05 seconds off a qualifying time.

The Emirati, who is competing in five events, will now shift his focus to the 1500m (today), 400m and 800m (Wednesday).

Among the other Emirati athletes in action early yesterday, Sakina Al Balooshi finished 10th in the women's club throw in the F31/32/51 (athletes with cerebral palsy or spinal cord disability) category.

Maroua Ibrahimi of Tunisia took the gold in the event with her second throw of 23.43 metres (1,063 points), a world record. Al Balooshi's opening throw of 14.66m was her best.

In the Mixed R3-10m air rifle prone qualification, the UAE's Abdulla Sultan Al Aryani was in 27th and Obaid Al Dahmani 36th.

In the wheelchair tennis competition, Dutch paralympian Esther Vergeer registered a 466th consecutive victory in the first round.

The Dutch athlete, who has not lost a singles match since 2003, has won 42 singles and doubles grand slam titles and began the defence of the gold medal she won in Beijing four years ago with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against Japan's Kanako Domori.

Vergeer won 250 consecutive sets from 2004 to 2006 and is second only to squash king Jahangir Khan, who won 555 consecutive matches from 1981 to 1986.

Ireland's Jason Smyth sealed his status as the fastest Paralympian on the planet as he broke the world record for the second day running to take gold in the T13 100 metres.

The 25-year-old, a training partner of Tyson Gay, raced away from the rest of the field to take the T13 crown in 10.46 seconds, more than half a second ahead of Cuban Luis Felipe Gutierrez.

South Africa's Jonathan Ntutu took the bronze.

Smyth, who is visually impaired because of Stargardt disease, has run quicker, but only in non-disabled competition.

Oscar Pistorius returned to London and to Paralympic competition with a new world record, clocking a time of 21.30 seconds to win his heat of the T44 200m with effortless ease.

Britain's Richard Whitehead, a double above-the-knee amputee, blitzed the final 100 metres of his T42 200m race, coming from well down the field to smash his own world record, flexing his biceps as he crossed the line in 24.38 seconds.


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