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Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 12:43 UK

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 OLYMPICS BLOG
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.


see also
Du Toit claims second gold medal
19 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Du Toit claims Commonwealth glory
17 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Du Toit hopes to repeat 2002 feat
14 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
GB swimmers maintain medal rush
10 May 08 |  Paralympics
British pair claim Beijing places
03 May 08 |  Swimming
Du Toit dominates as GB grab gold
12 May 07 |  Paralympics
Open water warrior
12 Jun 07 |  Swimming
Cassie Patten - Swimming
07 Aug 07 |  Swimming
Team GB for Beijing
21 May 08 |  Team GB
Swimming on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Swimming


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