Pistorius takes 2nd gold at Paralympics

Double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa won his second gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

updated: September 13, 2008 16:30 IST
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Double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa won his second gold medal at the
Paralympic Games today, while top American swimmer Erin Popovich missed a chance to finish with six golds.

Pistorius, who runs on prosthetic legs, won the 200meters with a time of 21.67. He pulled away down the stretch, beating second-place finisher Jim Bob Bizzell of the US by nearly a second.

The 21-year-old Pistorius already won gold in the 100 and was looking ahead to the 400, where he is a strong favourite.

"It's just a different distance, but I will still be myself," Pistorius said of Tuesday's race.

Popovich, who has already won four gold medals in Beijing, was seeking another top finish in the 50 meter butterfly today. But China's Huang Min beat Popovich by nearly 3 1/2 seconds as she went on to set a world record with a time of 34.47.

"I swam my heart out in that race," Popovich said. "A world record is huge. (Huang) dropped so much time ... so it's a huge accomplishment for her. She just had a better race tonight."

Popovich, who is a dwarf, won seven gold medals at the Athens Paralympics but was limited to six events this time after a relay was cut from the program. She also won three golds and three silvers as a 15-year-old competing in Sydney in 2000.

Popovich's last race, the 50 meter freestyle, is scheduled tomorrow and she flashed a wide smile as she talked about her preparations despite just losing out on another all-gold Paralympic performance.

"I just have to go get a good cool down, a good night's sleep and come in tomorrow morning fresh and ready to go," she said.

In wheelchair basketball, Iran forfeited its quarterfinal against the United States and avoided a possible game against Israel by withdrawing from the tournament.

Iranian officials denied the move was politically motivated, although Iran and the United States have no diplomatic relations and the US government has led efforts to challenge Iran's nuclear programme.

The winner of the U S -Iran match would have gone on to meet the winner of Israel-Canada. Iran does not recognize Israel and bans any official contact with the Jewish state.

Canada eventually beat Israel. Iran said its forfeit was prompted by a change in scheduling.

The US-Iran match was originally scheduled to be played at 11:15 am, following the first quarterfinal between Canada and Israel at 9 am But the starting times were switched, with no official announcement to explain why the change was made.

"Each match should be done one after another," said Iran's deputy chef de mission Iran Doust. "But unfortunately, concerning our match they didn't observe the order and that's the reason (for pulling out)."

Host China pulled away in the medal tally with 130 overall, including 49 golds. Ten of those gold medals came today in athletics and swimming.

Great Britain was second with 82 medals overall, including 38 golds. The United States was third with 66 overall, 26 gold.