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Dynamic Du Toit does it again
- Updated: October 5, 2010
New Delhi: Natalie du Toit broke her own Commonwealth Games record in the Para 50 metres freestyle to claim gold.
Du Toit, the Commonwealth champion in the event in Manchester in 2002 and Melbourne in 2006, needed a new Games record of 29.17 sec to win after trailing Australia’s Annebelle Williams for 45 metres before securing a magnificent win.
Du Toit, who is swimming in her final Commonwealth Games and will retire after the 2012 London Olympics, showed all the tenacity that has defined her international career to give South Africa a second gold in the pool.
Earlier in the day Jean Basson carried on where Chad le Clos left off in the pool as he qualified fastest for Tuesday’s prestigious men’s 200m freestyle final on day two of the Commonwealth Games, but he could not replicate his form in the final and his time of 1.48.27 was only good enough for fourth place.
Basson’s heat time was a quicker 1min 48.21sec, but his failure in the final means a disappointing return for South Africa in the 200m freestyle after Sebastien Rousseau and Darian Townsend were unable to reach the final.
Elsewhere in the pool this morning, Cameron van der Burgh, the bronze medallist in the 100m breaststroke from last year’s world championships, qualified for the semi-finals later Tuesday seventh overall with a 1:02.13.
Van der Burgh was pipped to the wall by Australia’s Brenton Rickard, but the result itself was not overly important ÔÇô it’s all about getting to the next stage ÔÇô but the South African will be looking carefully at Australia’s world 200m record holder, Christian Sprenger, who has emerged as a live gold medal candidate with a Games record 1:00.61 in the heats.
Natalie du Toit, aiming for her third successive S9 freestyle 50m Commonwealth gold, booked her place in Tuesday’s final with a 29.82 performance that saw her top the list of qualifiers.
Roland Schoeman, the 2006 Commonwealth champion in the men’s 50m butterfly, comfortably reached the semi-finals with a 23.76 swim in heat six, where he touched second behind the very capable Kenyan Jason Dunford.
Geoff Huegill, the Australian who won gold in the event in 2002, is back in shape after ballooning some 40kg in ÔÇ£retirementÔÇØ and the hard work in getting back to fitness has paid off, as he timed 23.66 in the heats and 23.45 in the semi-final.