Fourie Shows Gold Medal Form in Defeating Pistorius

Men's 100m T44 final at London 2012 set to be a classic with many athletes in contention for gold 28 Mar 2012
Arnu Fourie and Oscar Pistorius

Good friends and teammates Oscar Pistorius and Arnu Fourie go head-to-head at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in South Africa

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"It's an awesome privilege to run against him every time. He's been No 1 in the world for a while now and he is such an icon in Paralympic Sport."

South Africa’s Arnu Fourie underlined just why he is a serious contender for 100m T44 Paralympic gold this summer by beating Oscar Pistorius over the distance on Monday night at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Durban, South Africa.

Fourie, a fourth place finisher at last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand, stormed to 100m victory in a time of 11.22 seconds, 0.05 quicker than his good friend and world silver medallist Pistorius.

It was only the Blade Runner’s second 100m defeat in the last eight years and highlights why many are predicting that the 100m T44 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Thursday 6 September will be a thriller.

Fourie’s time was 0.12 quicker than Jerome Singleton’s gold medal winning time of 11.34 at last year’s World Championships and also 0.09 faster than the time American Jarryd Wallace ran to win Parapan American gold last November.

Speaking to after the race, Fourie was delighted with his win but quick to praise his opponent.

"It's an awesome privilege to run against him every time,” said the 26 year old. “He's been No 1 in the world for a while now and he is such an icon in Paralympic Sport.

"Every time you race against him you want to be at the top of your game, just to give yourself a bit of chance to get close to him. Obviously I'm overjoyed at the race I just ran.

"I came out well and felt good during the race. In the previous few years I was there and there about but he always won the race, so it's just good to get in there. There's still five months to go to the Paralympics, so I'm not going to get carried away by the race today, but I know there is a lot of work still to be done in the next few months."

Ever the professional Pistorius was magnanimous in defeat.

"I haven't run a 100m race in nearly a year, so I'm happy. The 100m is not really my race, but I'm happy to come out here because it is a really well run event," Pistorius explained.

Pistorius soon had his revenge over Fourie, beating him over 200m on Tuesday evening. Running into a 2.4 metre headwind the world and Paralympic champion over the distance stormed home in 23.32, with world bronze medallist Fourie finishing in 23.74.

Despite their respective sprint victories there was some disappointment for Pistorius and Fourie in the 4x100m relay.

After setting an unofficial world record last month of 42.50 seconds at a meeting in Johannerburg, the sprint team comprising of Pistorius, Fourie, Zivan Smith and Samkelo Radebe had hoped to go even faster in Durban.

However a botched handover in the final leg of the relay between Fourie and Pistorius, led to their disqualification, putting an end to hopes of a new world record.

Afterwards Oscar’s coach Ampie Louw told Sport 24 it "was one of those things" and laughed it off, adding that "it was good it happened now and not in London.”

"The first two handovers were good, but it was one of those things, Oscar started too early and it wasn't Arnu's fault. Oscar feels very disappointed at the moment, especially because he is part of a team, and he let the team down. As he said, you're never too old to make a mistake," Louw said.

"The time wasn't a problem, but rather it happens now than when we get to London."

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