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Wednesday, October 25, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Paralympic games

Special to The Seattle Times

SYDNEY - Jacob Heilveil of Bothell posted his season's best time of 10 minutes, 38.30 seconds but failed to make the finals of the men's 5,000-meter wheelchair road race at the Sydney Paralympic Games.

Heilveil will compete in another event - the marathon on the final day of competition.

Today, Laura Caparroso of Seattle, a visually impaired cyclist, is scheduled to ride in the mixed road race tandem. Mike Eddy of Redmond, a sighted athlete, will ride with her in the 40-mile race. Marlon Shirley of Olympia will try to beat his world record in the high jump for amputees and win a second gold medal.

Track

Four world records in track were broken yesterday - three were broken by the person who held them.

Cheri Becerra of the U.S. blasted through the women's 400 meters T54 for her second gold medal of the Games and a Paralympic record.

Britain's Noel Thatcher led the entire way to break his world record and win the men's 5,000-meter T12.

"I've been running for 17 years and still getting quicker," Thatcher said. "It's times like these I remember why I started running in the first place."

There were four false starts in the men's 100-meter T42 before Earl Conner of Canada broke his world record and won his first Paralympic medal.

Timothy Sullivan of Australia set a world record in a semifinal of the men's 100-meter T38.

Portugal's team of Carlos Lopez, Jose Alvez, Jose Gameiro and Gabriel Potra surged from behind to defeat Spain and win the gold in the men's 1,600-meter T13 relay, setting a Paralympic record.

The Australian men's 1,600-meter T46 team of Tim Mathews, Stephen Wilson, Neil Fuller and Heath Francis smashed their world record by almost 15 seconds in winning the gold medal.

Pentathlon

Serguei Sevostianov won his ninth Paralympic medal, his fourth Paralympic gold and his third in the pentathlon when he won the men's pentathlon P11 (blind).

He has won the pentathlon, with world-record point totals, at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996 and now Sydney in 2000. He is the five-time world champion and 15-time European champion.

"There is double enjoyment in today because it is my wife's birthday, so this medal is dedicated to her," Sevostianov said.

Swimming

Two qualifying heats for the men's 100-meter freestyle S12 in swimming ended in dead heats yesterday.

In the second heat, Raman Makarau of Belarus and Ebert Kleynhans of South Africa became the joint fastest qualifiers for the finals in 57.56.

In the fourth heat, Ian Sharpe of Britain and Francisco Segarra of Spain finished in a dead heat, which forced them into a swim-off for the last position in the finals. Segarra claimed the berth.

Alwin Houtsma of the Netherlands set a world record in the men's 50-meter butterfly S14, while Australia's Siobhan Paton set a world record in the women's 50-meter butterfly S14.

Also setting world records were Erin Popovich of the U.S. in the women's 100-meter breaststroke SB5 and Sisse Egeborg of Denmark in the women's 100-meter breaststroke SB8.

Wheelchair rugby

The biggest hit at the Sydney Paralympics? Could be wheelchair rugby, a rough-and-tumble sport originally known as "murder ball."

A human-powered version of demolition derby, wheelchair rugby is the only contact sport in the Paralympics and makes its full-medal debut today.

Duncan Campbell, a quadriplegic, devised wheelchair rugby in the 1970s while messing around with three friends in a gym in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He said it was a fluke that the game has taken off.

"There was no team sports for (quadriplegics) so we used to lift some weights, but we got bored with that," he said. "We were in the gym one afternoon and started to throw things around - that's where it started.

"There were no rules really . . . we called it murder ball. But when people got together to define the regulations, we decided murder ball might not be the best name for a developing game."

Eight teams qualified for the Paralympics, with the United States going in as the favorite after winning every major international tournament to date.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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