Paralympic gold medallist Pieter du Preez wins 5th Oita Marathon title

The quadriplegic won the race in 2h34min in the T51 category.

South Africa's Pieter "Supa Piet" du Preez won his 5th consecutive Oita International Wheelchair Marathon. Picture: @supapiet/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Pieter "Supa Piet" du Preez won his 5th consecutive Oita International Wheelchair Marathon on Sunday.

The quadriplegic won the race in 2h34min in the T51 category.

The Oita International Wheelchair Marathon was the world’s first international marathon solely for wheelchair users.

The inaugural event took place in 1981 at the suggestion of Dr. Yutaka Nakamura, founder of the Taiyo-no-Ie welfare facility and specialist in medical care for the disabled, to mark the International Year of Disabled Persons.

At present, it is an official World Para Athletics event, and has grown into one of the leading marathons in the world, attracting the world’s best athletes.

Japanese Imperial Family members, including Emperor Naruhito, and former Emperor Akihito and former Empress Michiko, now holding the titles of Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita, often watch the event.

Du Preez also won the gold medal in the men’s H1 cycling time trial at the Tokyo Paralympic Games earlier in the year.

The cyclist sped around the Fuji Speedway circuit outside Tokyo in a time of 43min 49.41sec. Italian Fabrizio Cornegliani got the silver medal and Maxime Hordies the bronze.

-ALSO READ: READ: SA's Du Preez bags cycling time trial gold at Paralympics

Du Preez's gold medal was Team South Africa’s fourth medal at the Paralympic Games and the third gold.

"Supa Piet" - who was nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2016 - won the Berlin Marathon more than six times and is a multiple African and World record holder, a World Champion, and he only has 15% of the muscle function of an able-bodied person due to a cycling accident in 2003.

He's also the first quadriplegic in the world to take part in and complete the ironman triathlon in 2013.