Heroes welcome for Paralympians

Paralympians arrived from London to a hero’s welcome at the O.R. Tambo International Airport 11 September 2012. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Team SA on Tuesday touched down at the O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

They returned from the London Paralympic Games with 29 medals, including eight gold awards.

The international arrivals terminal was buzzing with fans and children waiting to see Paralymic stars Oscar Pistorius (25) and Natalie Du Toit (28). 

The athletes were due to arrive at 7.30am but their arrival time was postponed to 8am.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula was expected to address the media soon.

Fanie van der Merwe, Ilse Hayes and Pistorious and the 4X100 men’s relay team won gold on the track for Team SA.

The Blade Runner, who won gold in the 400 metres T44 race, had much of praise for the London crowds.

“They were supportive of their own, but whenever there was a decent performance, it didn’t matter what country you came from - they were just fired up.”

In the pool, du Toit and Charl Bouwer won gold. 

Du Toit won three events in her final games, to take her overall gold medal tally to 13.

She will pocket  R1.4 million for winning three golds and one silver.

(Edited by Thato Motaung)