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South Africa’s Du Toit wins gold again


South Africa’s Natalie Du Toit on Tuesday held on for victory in the women’s 50m freestyle S9 category race, retaining the Commonwealth title for the third straight Games.

The 26-year-old from Cape Town, who lost her leg in a motorbike accident in 2001, held off a strong challenge from Australia’s Annabelle Williams, who got silver, and Stephanie Millward of England, who came third.

Du Toit is one of the world’s most well-known para-athletes and has dominated disabled swimming at the last two Commonwealth Games and Paralympics.

She has held the 50m and 100m freestyle Commonwealth title for elite athletes with a disability since Manchester in 2002, has 11 Paralympic gold medals and competed against able-bodied athletes in the Beijing Olympics.

After Tuesday morning’s qualifier, she said she wants to bow out of the Commonwealth Games on top, as she looks towards retirement after the next Olympics.

Tuesday’s finals went to form, as 22-year-old Gold Coast swimmer Williams, a lower left arm amputee, was the second fastest qualifier, and Millward, 29, the third fastest.

Millward was a successful able-bodied swimmer until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 17.

Williams led for the first 25m but Du Toit clawed back the deficit to power past her to the finish.

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