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Du Toit to make history at Games

Natalie Du Toit

Du Toit surprised herself with her performance in Seville

Swimmer Natalie Du Toit will compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games after being confirmed in South Africa’s team.

No female amputee has competed in the Olympics before, although table tennis player Natalia Partyka, an arm amputee, could compete for Poland in Bejing.

Du Toit qualified for the Olympics by finishing fourth in the 10km open water world championships in Seville in May.

The 24-year-old will race in the open water race in Beijing before contesting six events at the Paralympics.

“We are immensely proud of Natalie,” said Moss Mashishi, president of the South African Olympic Committee.

“Natalie is setting history and it is a phenomenal triumph. It is a tremendous achievement by any measure, even though I don’t think she recognises yet what she has done in global terms.

It’s been a dream for me since I was six years old to go to the Olympic Games
Natalie du Toit

“We have absolute confidence that she will do herself and South Africa justice in both events.”

Du Toit, who had a left leg amputated after a road accident seven years ago, had said she was surprised to qualify for the Olympic open water event.

“It’s been a dream for me since I was six years old to go to the Olympic Games and to finally have that dream realised is something massive for me,” she said.

“When I get home it will all sink in, when I start preparing for the Olympics.”

BBC Sport’s Elizabeth Hudson

Du Toit, who competed in both the able-bodied and disability events at the Commonwealth Games in 2002 and 2006, finished just five minutes behind the leader in the two-hour able-bodied event in Seville.

The 10km swim – often described as “wrestling in water” because of its aggressive tactics – will be making its debut at the Games in August.

Britons Cassandra Patten and Keri-Anne Payne have also qualified for the open water events at the Olympics.

Category: Olympic Games - Beijing 2008  Comments off
Natalie Du Toit story by Mariah and Mrs. Tucker

June 11th, 2008
Listen as TSPN reporters Mariah and Mrs. Tucker highlight the famed Olympic hopeful Natalie Du Toit. This amazing athlete had early dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer before a tragic accident nearly drowned her dreams. Her inspiring tale of gold medals, esteemed awards, and motivational speaking will keep you enthralled.

Listen to the podcast on the link below.


Category: Fans, Olympic Games - Beijing 2008, Podcasts  Comments off