Pistorius strikes gold at last

  • Last Updated: September 8 2012, 23:12 BST

Oscar Pistorius finally won his first individual gold medal of London 2012 in the very last race at the Olympics Stadium.

Oscar Pistorius: 'Very, very special' victory

The South African did not quite manage to live up to his claim that he would sign off in "spectacular" fashion, but he was still a hugely convincing winner in a new Paralympic record 46.68 seconds, more than three seconds ahead of the field.

After a shock 200m loss and an expected 100m one, the 400m was the one title the 25-year-old wanted to keep hold of more than any other. It is his event, the one at which he made history by becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics.

And there was never any danger of an upset on Saturday night.

Pistorius came into the race with a personal best more than five seconds quicker than the next fastest in the race, none of whom had broken the 50-second barrier. Pistorius can get close to 45secs at his best.

The South African is still the biggest draw in Paralympic sport and got a huge roar when introduced to the capacity crowd.

Alan Fonteles Oliveira, the T44 200m champion whose long blades sparked furious criticism from Pistorius in the immediate aftermath of that race, was in the lane outside him and for the first half of the race looked like he might pose a challenge.

But Pistorius came into the home straight with a clear lead and, as the Brazilian tired badly, American Blake Leeper came into second and compatriot David Prince third. Oliveira was fourth.

It marks the end of a long summer for the 'Blade Runner', who leaves London with two golds, having taken one in the relay, and a silver.

"It was very, very special to me," Pistorius told Channel 4. "It was the last event of my season, the last event of the London 2012 Games. Just so special.

"It was my 11th time I was able to come out on the track and I just wanted to end and give the crowd something they would appreciate and take home with them.

"I was very nervous before today's race. I was quite tired but the crowd just really kept me going."

He continued: "For the first time I was thinking about something beside my race going into the home straight and I could hear the crowd which was very weird, it was so loud, and I thought, 'let's just finish off on a good note'.''

Asked about his rival Oliveira, Pistorius said: "It was very difficult to know what race he was going to run after yesterday. He ran out very, very quick over the first 300 and then he in essence just jogged the last 100 so we didn't know what to expect.

"But I think that was a great race for me.''

He went on: "I want to thank everyone. This week, this month and this season have had a lot of challenges and my coach is right behind me and I have a lot to thank him for too.''

On winning the last race on the track of London 2012, he said: "I'm so proud. This summer's been a dream come true. I couldn't have hoped for anything better.

"Lord Seb Coe and his team and LOCOG have done the most amazing Olympic and Paralympic Games and this is one of the biggest highlights of my life.

"To have had 11 races here, to have made an Olympic final, to have made the semi-final and run one of my quickest times in the Olympics and then to come out here in the Paras and run two world records and get three medals, it's such a blessing for me.''

Meanwhile, javelin thrower Nathan Stephens, who lost his legs in an accident on a railway line on his ninth birthday, was left angry and upset after suffering disappointment in the javelin.

The 24-year-old Welshman, the world champion, saw his first two attempts in the F57/58 deemed fouls and managed just 33.10m on his third.

A devastated Stephens was red flagged for lifting his right foot - he has a prosthetic leg - off the ground and claimed the officials had not interpreted the laws correctly.

He insisted the rules allowed him to lift his foot as long as his bottom remained in contact with the seat, but claimed this was not being adhered to, and described his elimination as "heartbreaking''.

The British team protested successfully, the jury of appeal later confirming the referee had misinterpreted the rule and reinstating his second throw of 37.09m. That was only good enough to take him from 12th to 10th, though.

Stephens, who was in tears, said: "It shouldn't matter whether my foot comes off the floor or not. When I come through and put the power through, my right foot jumps and then comes back on.

"For some reason the officials deemed that as a no-throw.

"When that first red flag went I didn't even know why. It's partly my fault, my head kind of went then when it happened the second time, I protested and tried to get the ruling right and got the technical official involved and they were saying your foot must remain in contact with the floor.

"Then I realised. Well, the way I throw is by chucking myself forward knowing that one [buttock] is in contact with the seat. Basically my throw was never going to get anywhere.

"It's difficult. It's heartbreaking, to know that it was exactly the same rule in New Zealand (when he won the world title in 2011), exactly the same rule in Czech Republic when I broke the world record and then you come to your home Games with this fantastic crowd and it all turns upside down.

"There needs to be a clear ruling. There shouldn't be interpretation of the rule, it should be a rule. It should be black and white, but then for some reason the officials don't see it that way.''

Hazel Robson, Paralympic champion 12 years ago in Sydney, finished seventh in the T36 100m.

Tatyana McFadden, the wheelchair racer abandoned by her parents as a child in Russia, saw her bid for a possible five Paralympic gold medals end with a third-placed finish in the 100m.

In a race which also featured her 16-year-old Albania-born adopted sister Hannah, the 23-year-old could not match the speed of the two Chinese racers, Liu Wenjun and Dong Hongjiao, who took gold and silver.

Tatyana, who has already struck gold in the T54 400m, 800m and 1500m, said: "I'm pleased, I'm happy. The 100m is always tough.

"In Beijing I came sixth and in London I have three gold medals. I've had a good week.

"It was good to compete with my sister. It was good to have her there. She calmed me down and I calmed her down. It was an awesome experience.''

Fanie van der Merwe took the T37 100m title thanks to a spectacular dive for the line.

Van de Merwe and China's Liang Yongbin were both given 11.51 seconds, a world record, but the South African was awarded the gold in a photo finish.

The South African said: "I knew that just a normal [finish] wasn't going to make it. So I thought 'I'm going to give it a dive'.''

Cuba's Yunidis Castillo ran a world record 55.72s to claim her third gold of the Games with victory in the T46 400m.

Poland's Mateusz Michalski also set a new world record, clocking 21.56 to clinch the T12 200m crown.

And his compatriot Maciej Lepiato quickly followed suit, taking the F46 high jump mark to new heights with a leap of 2.12m to take the gold.

Wheelchair racer Raymond Martin won gold number four by taking the T52 200m title.

Austria's Gunther Matzinger made it a 400m-800m double with victory in the T46 800m in a world record 1:51.82.

Russia's Elena Ivanova won the T36 100m and China's Xue Lei the T11 100m.

China's T53/54 4x400m relay quartet claimed a convincing gold, while Zhou Hongzhuan was crowned T53 400m champion.

Algeria's Mohammad Khalvandi took the F57/58 javelin gold.

Tunisian pair Walid Ktila and Raoua Tlili took the T34 100m crown and F40 shot put title respectively.

Algeria's Abdellatif Baka timed his finish to perfection to snatch gold in the T13 800m.

Australia's Evan O'Hanlon won his second gold of the Games as he added the T38 200m title to his 100m crown.

Mexico's Angeles Ortiz Hernandez won F58 shot put gold and compatriot Luis Alberto Zepeda Felix the F54/55/56 javelin title.

Tunisia's Neda Bahi won the T37 400m, Brazil's Shirlene Coelho the F37/38 javelin and Azerbaijan's Oleg Panyutin the F12 triple jump.