BEIJING — Oscar Pistorius of South Africa began his bid for three gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics on Monday by finishing in 11.16 seconds for the fastest time in 100-meter heats.

Pistorius, a double amputee, races with prosthetic legs and is known as the "Blade Runner." He won a legal battle in May for the right to run in the Olympics but failed to meet the qualifying time standard.

On Monday, he ran a personal best and was followed by three Americans: Jerome Singleton (11.48), Brian Frasure (11.49) and former Utah resident and Bear River High graduate Marlon Shirley (11.77).

Pistorius will also run the 200 and 400, hoping to better his performance four years ago in the Athens Paralympics, where he won a gold and bronze.

Forty-one medals were awarded on the second day of the Paralympics. China leads with 28 medals, including eight gold. The United States also has eight gold and 17 overall.

South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit won her second gold in two days, winning the 100 freestyle after taking the 100 butterfly Sunday. She's attempting to win five gold medals.

The U.S. took three of the 18 golds in swimming, the medals going to Jessica Long, Erin Popovich and Anna Eames.

One of the longest winning streaks in sports stayed in place, with the Netherlands' Esther Vergeer defeating Daniela Di Toro 6-2, 6-0 in the first round of wheelchair tennis to extend her string to 345 consecutive victories.

The 10 gold medals Monday in track and field were well distributed, with China taking two and one each for Cuba, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Algeria, Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands.

Medals awarded in other events included track cycling (5), equestrian (2), judo (4) and shooting (2).

Vergeer has won four gold medals in the last two Paralympics, in singles and doubles, and will look to repeat again in Beijing. Di Toro is a former top-ranked player and the last to defeat Vergeer — 5 1/2 years ago.

"I was kind of nervous in the first couple of games," Vergeer said. "A couple of years ago she was my biggest rival. The stadium is full and there are a lot of people watching, and that is also very different from what we are used to."