Business Day

Sit­hole lets the bronze slip

- MARK ETHERIDGE

TEN­NIS ace Lu­cas Sit­hole was one game away from earn­ing Team SA a bronze and their ninth Par­a­lympic Games medal on Wed­nes­day.

Play­ing archri­val David Wag­ner in the third/fourth place quad sin­gles tie in Rio, Sit­hole was out of the blocks quickly, win­ning the first set 6-1 in just 26 min­utes but the roles were re­versed as Wag­ner won the sec­ond 6-2.

The third set saw Sit­hole 5-1 up and seem­ingly with that medal in his pocket, but Wag­ner who has dom­i­nated their pre­vi­ous meet­ings to the tune of 23-8, dug deep to clinch the fi­nal 50min set 7-5.

Road cy­cling’s first ac­tion of the Games and the first time trial of the day saw Craig Ridgard in C2 ac­tion and he ended 11th of 15 fin­ish­ers. His time of 30min 19.03sec put him 2:36 be­hind gold medal win­ner Tris­ten Ch­er­nove of Canada.

Roxy Burns was sched­uled to be next off in the C1-3 fi­nal (her fourth and fi­nal race) but was forced to with­draw on the race-day morn­ing.

“Hardest call ever. I de­cided to with­draw. I had no ap­petite this morn­ing and I can’t race on an empty stom­ach,” said Burns.

Then it was on to the men’s H5 hand­cy­cling event where Ernst van Dyk was out to go close to his pre­vi­ous best Par­a­lympic time trial fin­ish of fourth. He went close with a fifth spot in 29:26.31 as Alex Za­nardi re­peated his Lon­don win of four years ago.

On this oc­ca­sion, on a pan­cake flat course and with the 41°C tem­per­a­ture, Van Dyk just did not have it af­ter 20km of all-out rac­ing in an event which is not his favourite.

That will come in Sun­day’s road race, also on a flat course.

“It was al­ways go­ing to be tough com­ing back into the wind push­ing your­self to the lim­its … and it looks like I’m go­ing to be stuck at fifth for the Par­a­lympics time trial for now. To­mor­row’s road race will be more my thing but it’ll be tough with all the cor­ners and then there’s Sun­day’s marathon.

“I av­er­aged out at just over 40km/h. I thought the win­ning time would be just over 42. I was very sur­prised with Stu­art Tripp’s sil­ver — a very im­pres­sive race be­hind all the tech­nol­ogy that Alex has got on his bike.”

In the women’s H1-2-3 time trial Cape Town’s Jus­tine Asher was up against it. Af­ter do­ing so well on the World Cup cir­cuit, she had to con­tend with the fact that a num­ber of classes were com­bined and a com­pli­cated sys­tem used to de­ter­mine the win­ner. She ended up fifth at 34:34.12. Sas­coc.co.za

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