Paralympics: Pistorius shines as Games near end
LONDON, United Kingdom - "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius on Saturday, September 8, ended the last full day of competition of the London Paralympics by storming to victory in his favored event, as most of the final golds were decided.
Pistorius, 25, had been favorite to retain his T44 400m title for single and double below-the-knee amputee sprinters being the only man in the field to run under 50sec.
The result never looked in doubt from the gun, as the South African struck out on his own to lead coming into the last half-lap and was roared across the line in 46.68sec by the crowd at the packed 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
"It was very, very special to me," Pistorius told Britain's Channel 4 television after the race. "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."
Brazil meanwhile defended their unbeaten record in five-a-side football, beating France 2-0 to clinch their third gold in the three Games since the sport was introduced.
Bosnia-Herzegovina gained revenge over Iran for their defeat in Beijing four years ago, clinching the men's sitting volleyball title 3-1, while China won three out of four of the team gold medals played on Saturday in table tennis.
The haul took their overall tally in the competition to 14 out of 29 golds on offer -- one more than on home soil in 2008 -- with 21 medals in total.
In the pool, Victoria Arlen of the United States secured her first gold of the Games in the S6 100m freestyle after three silvers and a row about her classification on the eve of the Games.
Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias, who was born without hands and feet, secured his sixth of the Games.
Canada wrested the men's wheelchair basketball title back from their old foes Australia thanks to a dominant performance from the world's best wheelchair player, Patrick Anderson, in front of thousands of Canadian fans.
Anderson scored 34 points to help Canada win 64-58 and avenge their defeat to the Australians in the 2008 final in Beijing.
In wheelchair tennis, former military helicopter pilot Noam Gershon, who was injured during Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon, took the men's quad singles titles for the Jewish nation's first gold of the Games.
The 29-year-old, who received congratulations at courtside from Israel's president and sports minister, said he planned to mark the win by getting "really drunk".
But he also dedicated his medal to his grandmother, who celebrates her 88th birthday on Sunday.
Dutch tennis ace Esther Vergeer, gold medallist in the women's singles on Saturday and unbeaten in 470 matches, and Marjolein Buis beat compatriots Aniek Van Koot and Jiske Griffioen to win the women's doubles.
Shingo Kunieda of Japan meanwhile beat France's Stephane Houdet in the men's singles final.
Sunday sees the quadrennial festival of disabled sport spill out onto the streets of the British capital, with four marathon races starting and finishing on the Mall outside Queen Elizabeth II's London residence, Buckingham Palace.
Large crowds are expected as the best wheelchair, amputee, blind and visually-impaired 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) racers go past key landmarks in the city, including the Tower of London and the British parliament.
Sunday's program also sees defending champions Ukraine take on Russia for seven-a-side football gold and Australia face Canada in the "murderball" -- wheelchair rugby final.
From 1930 GMT, London will bid an emotional farewell to the Olympics and Paralympics, organizers said, with Coldplay headlining a closing ceremony entitled "Festival of the Flame".
Artistic director Kim Gavin told reporters that it will draw heavily on Britain's rich history of cultural, musical and seasonal festivals, taking spectators on a journey through the seasons to music and dance.
The hosts of the next Olympic and Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, will have an eight-minute slot in the show, to give spectators -- and athletes -- an idea of what awaits them in Brazil.
Co-artistic director Daniela Thomas said the segment would be "contagiously joyful". - Phil Hazlewood, Agence France-Presse