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Natalie swims her way back into the Games

23 July 2002

Four years ago swimmer Natalie Du Toit competed for South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur but since then she sadly lost her left leg in an accident only a year ago.

Manchester Aquatics Centre

The Manchester Aquatics Centre will host all the swimming and diving events

Fortunately Du Toit wanted to keep on swimming and now she’s back and ready to prove herself here at the Games in Manchester.

These Commonwealth Games are already unique as the first international sporting festival to integrate events for Elite Athletes with Disabilities (EAD) in the programme with able-bodied athletes.

The Commonwealth Games will be the first international event in which she has raced since the accident but sightings of Du Toit in training suggest she is swimming more than 2 sec inside the EAD world record for her category of disability over 100m freestyle.

But Du Toit is taking matters further. She is determined to compete on equal terms at every opportunity, and is entered in the women’s 800m freestyle here as well as in two EAD events.

“Competing in the 800 metres freestyle here is so important to me. It is everything I believe in. I also still believe I can make it to the Olympics. I know that mentally it is going to be tough, but I am determined to prove it can be done,” the 18-year-old from Cape Town said.

An eighth-place at the 1999 Pan Pacific championships at 800m freestyle, Du Toit says that she has always been determined to return to able-bodied competition at the event. She ensured she would be in the South African team when placing second in their trials.

Du Toit’s courage in adversity has seen her selected as one of the Games athletes to have lunch with Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday July 23.

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