Tue, September 09, 2008
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China tops medals table as Pistorius eyes gold at Beijing Paralympics

2008-09-09 02:32:17 GMT2008-09-09 10:32:17 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

China's Lin Haiyan shows her gold medal at the awarding ceremony for the women's P2-10m air pistol SH1 final of shooting event during Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2008. Lin Haiyan won the gold with a total score of 467.7.(Xinhua Photo)

South Africa's "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius competes during the first round competition of men's 100m T44 at the National Stadium,also known as the Bird's Nest,during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 8, 2008. Pistorius advanced to the next round with 11.16 seconds. (Xinhua Photo)

Gold medalist Natalie du Toit of South Africa (C), silver medalist Louise Watkin (L) of Britain and bronze medalist Stephanie Dixon of Canada pose on the podium after the S9 final of women's 100m freestyle of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

He Junquan of China celebrates on the podium after the S5 final of men's 50m backstorke of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2008. He won the silver medal of the event with 35.43 seconds. (Xinhua Photo)

Gold medalist Wang Xiaofu (C) of China, silver medalist Konstantin Lisenkov (L) of Russia and bronze medalist Peter Leek of Australia pose on the podium after the S8 final of men's 100m freestyle of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, Sept. 8, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- China climbed to the top of the Beijing Paralympics medals table on Monday as South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius began his bid for a sprint treble and compatriot Natalie du Toit won her second gold in the pool.

On the first day of athletics action at the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium, South Africa's double amputee track sensation broke the Games record in his 100m heat, the South African Press Association reported.

Pistorius clocked 11.16 seconds and set his sights on a world record in Tuesday's final. The 21-year-old said the world record of 10.91 seconds was in his sights.

"I hope to run under 11 (secs) tomorrow. That's going to my goal. With the extra competition from Marlon (Shirley) and Brian ( Frasure) that will definitely be possible."

Pistorius, who holds the world marks in his category for the 100m, 200m and 400m, won a court battle to compete at last month's Olympics but failed to qualify and now has his sights set on the London 2012 Games.

Meanwhile, high-profile Olympian Natalie du Toit of South Africa won the 100m freestyle gold in her category to go with her 100m butterfly win.

The 24-year-old, who finished 16th in the 10 kilometre marathon swim in the Olympics, is aiming for three more wins to match her gold tally at the Athens Paralympics.

China had eight golds at the end of day two competition along with the United States, with Britain on seven. However, China had 28 medals in total, compared with 17 for the United States.

China, which topped the medals table at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with 63 golds ahead of Britain and Canada, is widely expected to dominate again -- and even more comprehensively than at last month's Olympics.

More than 4,000 competitors from 147 countries and regions are battling for 472 gold medals in 20 sports at the eye-catching venues used for the Olympics such as the "Bird's Nest" and the Water Cube.

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