Nobody takes Natalie for a ride

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Independent Newspapers

Paralympic swimming champion Natalie du Toit and Khalid Galant, chief executive of the SA Institute for Drug Free Sport, catch their breath after a training session for Sundays 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Joburg. Galant said that Du Toit was an inspiration for participating in the race.

Durban - For the first time since losing her leg in an accident in 2001, Paralympic swimming champion Natalie du Toit will ride a bike on Sunday when she takes part in the 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Joburg.

After a training session on Thursday, she said it was “quite challenging” pedalling with her prosthetic leg and keeping it strapped in.

“I don’t have the same amount of weight on both sides, but I have 94.7km to get used to it,” she quipped, adding that she was a regular cyclist before her accident.

“I have a history of cycling, and was on a bike for many years. I used to cycle around Cape Town to training and back home – it was my only mode of transport.”

Riding with the likes of Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, Du Toit will be part of the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport’s “I Play Fair” team on Sunday, which aims to eliminate doping from sport.

Since competing in the Paralympics in September, Du Toit said she had not spent any time in the pool and had been up to “crazy stuff”, such as motivational speaking and racing around Kyalami racecourse.

She retired from professional swimming after this year’s London Paralympics.

Du Toit said at the time: “After everything I’ve gone through, it’s actually quite a relief that it is my last Games.”

“It’s a great feeling to be able to walk away and know that I’ve achieved everything I wanted to achieve and there’s nothing else that I could have done.

“It’s not about the golds, it’s about taking part,” she said. - The Mercury


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