CAPE TOWN - As usual, it took him a while to get going out of the blocks, but Ntando Mahlangu stormed down the home straight to grab his second gold medal of the Tokyo Paralympics in the men’s 200-metre T61 final on Friday.
The 19-year-old Mahlangu – who set a world record on his way to a long jump gold medal earlier in the event – was the sure favourite for the 200m title as well, having set a world mark of 23.03 seconds in 2019.
But he first had to contend with British veteran Richard Whitehead, who beat the South African in the corresponding event at Rio 2016.
The 45-year-old sped into the lead on Friday, opening up a big gap on Mahlangu and the rest of the field.
But the latter hit back as they entered the last 100 metres, and went to the front with about 50 metres to go. In the end, it was a comfortable victory in 23.59 seconds, with Whitehead taking the silver this time in 23.99, followed by German Ali Lacin with 24.64.
This was the sixth medal claimed by Team SA in Tokyo – four golds, one silver and one bronze.
Earlier on Friday, Tebogo Mofokeng just missed out on a bronze in the men’s 400m T62 final, finishing fourth in a time of 50.09 seconds, which was a new African record. Countryman Daniel du Plessis placed seventh with 53.56.
In swimming, Katherine Swanepoel also nearly secured a podium finish in the women’s 50m backstroke S4 final, coming fourth in 50.17.
Unfortunately for Christian Sadie, he was disqualified after his butterfly S7 final for moving on the blocks, having finished sixth in 29.78.