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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK

Du Toit dominates again

By Charlie Henderson
BBC Sport Online

South Africa's Natalie du Toit has won the final of the multi-disability 50m freestyle.

Du Toit became the first swimmer in her class to go under 30 seconds as a disabled athlete earlier in the day.

And in her first international event she matched that feat to win gold in the evening session.

Canada completed the podium with Stephanie Dixon, the former world record holder, and Danielle Campo finishing second and third.

"I just went out there and did my best," the teenage du Toit said afterwards.

"It was great to have this crowd behind us and great to see disability swimmers finally being accepted at this level."

The 18-year-old competed at the 1998 Commonwealth Games as an able-bodied swimmer in the 200m butterfly.

She lost her left leg in a car accident last year but returned to the swimming pool four months later determined not to give up on the sport.

However she is yet to decide whether to swim more EAD events or concentrate on open races.

"I'll take a couple of months to decide, but I understand that the finacial support and the stature of disability swimming is growing with every meet.

"Whatever decision I make will be the right one for me."

Du Toit's ambition is to compete among the able-bodied in the long-distance freestyle at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

She would be following in the footsteps of compatriot Terence Parkin, who has a profound hearing impairment but won the 200m breaststroke Olympic silver in Sydney.


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