Paralympics 2012

Natalie lauds 'special' crowd

2012-09-06 22:54
Natalie du Toit (AFP)

London - Natalie du Toit won her third gold medal in the pool in her swansong appearance at the London Paralympic Games on Thursday.

Slow out of the blocks as usual, Du Toit improved with every length to win the women’s 200m individual medley by two clear seconds, in 2:34.22.

“It’s the second-last race of my career, so it’s great to have that gold medal after such a struggle,” Du Toit said.

“I always have a bad start, so I’m getting over that now. I actually practised my starts a lot before coming here and it’s still bad, so I just gave up on that.

“It was quite a strange race because I went out in the butterfly and, when I touched for the backstroke, I saw myself on the big screen.

“I watched myself go from a close up to a far view of all eight lanes.

“On the breaststroke as well, I was watching the screen, so it was quite interesting to see myself in the race.”

As the only leg amputee in the race, Du Toit said she knew would struggle in the breaststroke.

“In this competition, I’ve been bad in backstroke and I know my competitors were all working towards catching me in the breaststroke.

“That’s why, in the butterfly and backstroke, I just had to try and stay up with them. I had to keep my head about me and just swim the 200m as fast as I possibly could.”

Du Toit said she could hear the South Africans in the crowd supporting her, but the host nation also gave her a good reception, despite her closest rivals in the race all being British.

“I always had a great reception from the British crowd, ever since the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. I had a standing ovation then and coming here now, from race one to race six, has been special and I have to say thank you to them.

“We also have a lot of South Africans in the crowd and that's been amazing.

“The support gets you going in the race and you can actually hear them.”

Du Toit, who lost her left leg below the knee in a scooter accident in 2001, was competing against Stephanie Millward, an able-bodied swimmer before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 17, and Louise Watkin, born without a left hand.

Millward took the silver medal in 2:36.21 and Watkin earned the bronze in 2:27.79.

There was no going back for Du Toit, who will swim her last ever competitive race, the 100m freestyle S9 on Friday.

“I’m sad but also relieved, as well as a little bit scared. I think scared because I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself.

“I’m also nervous for the race because I’m not swimming so well and those girls have really improved, especially in the 100s and 50s. So, I’ve got to try my best to walk away with a medal and it will be very special being my last competition.

“Hopefully I won’t cry, but I’m going to give it everything.”

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette
Pro-skater Tony Hawk rides a hoverboard!
10 ways to drive her wild!
Vote

Do South Africa's Olympians and Paralympians deserve equal monetary rewards for winning gold, silver and bronze medals in London?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.