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Vergeer extends streak to 470 wins

London, Sep 8, 2012, AFP: 23:05 IST
Dutch wheelchair tennis ace Esther Vergeer stretched her remarkable unbeaten run to 470 matches as she struck Paralympic gold again, as South Africa’s Natalie Du Toit swam her final race.

Ireland’s Jason Smyth meanwhile proved himself as the fastest Paralympian in history by defending his 100M and 200M double from Beijing, while Du Toit’s team-mate Oscar Pistorius sought to salvage his Games after two shock defeats.

The penultimate full day of competition in London saw a number of sports reach their conclusion, with Vergeer’s title never destined for anyone else given her remarkable winning streak in singles that stretches back to 2003.

“I know the day I will lose will come but I don’t know when,” the 31-year-old said after beating compatriot Aniek van Koot 6-0, 6-3 on the blue hardcourts of Eton Manor to take the title for the fourth time in a row.

In the Olympic Stadium, Irish sprinter Smyth showed his undisputed class by breaking his own T13 200M world record for visually impaired athletes to win in 21.05sec, less than a week after winning the 100M in another world best time.

The 25-year-old, who has the genetic condition Stargardt’s disease, won the same double in Beijing four years ago, while Russia-born US wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden took her third gold of the Games in the T54 1,500M.

Both victories came before Pistorius eased through to Saturday’s final of the T44 400M for single and double below-the-knee amputees, which as the only athlete in the field who has run under 50sec, he is expected to win.

At the pool, 13-time Paralympic gold medallist du Toit broke down in tears after winning silver in the S9 100M freestyle behind Australia’s Ellie Cole. “It’s all over,” said the 28-year-old Du Toit, who was a promising non-disabled swimmer until 2001 when she had her left leg amputed below the knee after a scooter accident.

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