The Straits Times
Published on Sep 01, 2012

Paralympics: Packed crowds and controversy at the Games


LONDON (AFP) - Packed crowds on Friday greeted the first day of athletics at the Paralympics but the jubilant mood was overshadowed by a mix-up that saw the wrong athlete awarded a gold.

There was controversy, too, at the Velodrome, where the British favourite in the men's C4/5 1km time-trial angrily protested a decision not to allow him to restart after slipping at the start.

The day had started off well, with nearly 80,000 people packed into the Olympic Stadium in east London roaring T54 wheelchair racers around the track in the women's 5,000m heats to the astonishment of athletes.

There were few spare seats for the evening session, which notably saw Ireland's Jason Smyth - who trains with United States (US) sprint star Tyson Gay - lower the men's T13 100m world record to 10.54secs in qualifying.