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Du Toit putting back

By Mark Etheridge

Top top field athlete Simon├® du Toit has shelved her Olympic Games dreams ÔÇô for now at leastt ÔÇô and swopped the heat of battle for the academic/sporting halls of the University of Johannesburg.

Originally from Kempton Park, Du Toit spent four years at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she shone both on an off the athletics track.

She’s now taken up a position at UJ where she’ll help in the marketing/communication department.

Captain of SMU’s track and field team, Du Toit was a rising force in the discus and shot put spheres. She qualified for last year’s IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea and last year recorded he second best discus effort by a South African with a huge throw of 58.86m.

In between her athletics achievements the 23-year-old shone in the academic department, graduating with a diploma in human rights to go with her bachelor’s degree.

Injury and a desire to plough back her knowledge to help others were the deciding factors in her decision to change focus.”I have a really bad knee injury, as a result of my fitness training and running kilometers and and the rotation of competition. I now have to wait for the specialist to tell me this week what I am going to do. Just being pain free right now is great,” she told Road to London 2012.

“For now though I have transitioned into a working girlÔǪ I have to move on. Although its hard ‘putting down my balls’, I think I will be better and of greater value to others if I can give myself, rather than the selfishness of taking all the time. It’s not easy but I love working out and find new pleasure in health and fitness than power and distance.”

Du Toit says that her World Championships experience last year also convinced her to switch focus. “The other issue I have is the size and strength of my international competitors. I just found at worlds in Daegu that I’m not that type of athlete, I am bigger than average and I was great at a young age because of my size,and I worked my butt off, but now I’m not competitive enough.”

“So there are conflicting feelings of being “sexy’ and female versus the possibility winning a medal but being unhappy in my skin. The price of all the training and feelings of not ever being good enough is not a good deal, its a temporary sport and life is more than shot putting. I am not defining myself as an athlete alone anymore, I’m a human being, with lots of experience because of sport and I now want to give myself to make the world, a system, my family or a person better, happier and healthier.”

Du Toit brings back a wealth of knowledge after her American experience. ÔÇ£The scale of American university events and the promotions around them is just massive. You can’t compare it with anything here; not even a Bulls against Lions Currie Cup game is that big.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I’ve really come back because of my family and all the possibilities that this country holds. More specifically, I want to promote UJ as one of the top sports institutions in the country.ÔÇØ

She’s also looking forward to spending time with loved ones and raising the profile of UJ’s top-performing sportspeople. ÔÇ£It’s great to have the weight of the university behind me.ÔÇØ


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