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Natalie named outstanding Games athlete

11 August 2002

South African Natalie Du Toit wins the inaugural David Dixon Award as the outstanding Games athlete in Manchester.

Natalie du Toit

Natalie du Toit embodied everything the Commonwealth Games is about

South African swimmer, Natalie Du Toit has won the first David Dixon Award as the outstanding athlete of the Commonwealth Games for her performance and contribution to her team.

Natalie won gold in the 50m and 100m Elite Athlete with a Disability (EAD) freestyle swimming events breaking two world records as well as making the final of the 800m open swimming event where she swam a personal best of 13.57sec.

Natalie, 18-years-old from Cape Town, had her lower left leg amputated following a motor cycle accident in 2001, but courageously returned to swimming later that year.

Natalie competed as a 14-year-old star of the future at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Mike Fennell, Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), said he was delighted that Natalie was the first recipient of the David Dixon Award.

“Natalie is a truly remarkable individual who deserves our full admiration,” Mr Fennell said.

“Her achievements in Manchester reflect her determination in life - to overcome adversity and in the process inspire others including her South African team mates,” Mr Fennell said.

All 72 competing nations and territories nominated one athlete for the award, with the winner chosen by a panel consisting of a representative of the six Commonwealth regions, Mike Fennell and Alison Dixon, the wife of the late David Dixon. The panel decision for Natalie’s was unanimous.

In nominating Natalie, the South African team said.

“She has shown that the integration objective of the CGF has been well and truly achieved. She has been a shining example of our team theme – ‘Passion, Power, Performance’.”

Alison Dixon felt the choice of Natalie reflected the spirit of the Award.

“I’m tremendously pleased with the decision and feel it is one my husband would also have made,” Mrs Dixon said.

The award, named after David Dixon the former Honorary Secretary of the CGF for 17 years, is the first of its kind for a multi-sport event.

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