By GARY LEMKE in Birmingham
In the semi-final 36 hours earlier Ntutu had hit the line in 10.89, which is not far behind his all-time best of 10.80.
It qualified him fastest into the final, where his main danger for gold appeared to be Zachary Shaw, who had produced a 11.01 in qualifying. And that’s how it panned out in the final as the English favourite chased Ntutu home in 10.90 in the four-man final.
Four years ago, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Ntutu had lowered his best time down to 10.80. It was a golden year for the South African in many respects – he was named South Africa’s Sportsman of the Year with a Disability and recorded the fastest time run by a South African Para-athlete.
Despite competing in four Paralympics, his best moment came at those 2018 Commonwealth Games where he won gold in the T12 100m. “That was a proud top-of-the-podium occasion. Jumping on to that podium was my very happiest moment. My absolute golden time,” he says.
Four years later, it was all on the line again. And he again produced the goods to add another gold medal to his collection.
“My PB is 10.80. I just ran 10.83 so I’m going nowhere.” At last year’s Paralympics he had been written off and the vultures had circled, Time to retire they said. But Nododomzi, which means “man of the house” in English, wasn’t ready to leave the building just yet.
“I could cry because between Tokyo and now it’s been a hard road and for me to be standing here with the gold medal it becomes so overwhelming for me,” he said. To come out here and run 10.83 in quite cold conditions, I’m proud of myself. Mid-race I had a bit of a speed wobble, but I overcame that and here I stand with gold.”
Photo: Roger Sedres