Amputee Natalie du Toit made history by qualifying to swim in the 800-metre freestyle final at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. Photo by Gareth Copley
Amputee Natalie du Toit made history by qualifying to swim in the 800-metre freestyle final at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. Photo by Gareth Copley

Natalie du Toit in line for Laureus sports award

By Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Jan 13, 2020

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Three months after 17-year-old Natalie du Toit was involved in a traffic accident and had her leg amputated at the knee, she returned to swimming, and just a year later made history by qualifying to swim in the 800-metre freestyle final at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.

That moment, the first time an amputee qualified to compete in the finals of a major international swimming competition, is among 20 of the world’s greatest sporting moments from the new millennium which are up for the Laureus Sporting Moment 2000 - 2020 award.

The Laureus Foundation launched the Laureus Sporting Moment 2000-2020 public vote yesterday, which gives sports fans the power to choose one of the winners of the prestigious awards.

The winner will be announced at the 20th anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Friday.

The ceremony will honour the greatest sporting triumphs of 2019, while the Laureus Sporting Moment Award will celebrate the moments sport unified people in the most extraordinary way.

Other nominees include legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who on his sixth attempt at the World Cup, and with India not having won the competition since 1983, was finally a part of the team that reigned victorious. Carried on the shoulders of the Indian team, he made a lap of honour, shedding tears of joy after the victory was sealed in his home city.

German international footballer Miroslav Klose, while playing for Lazio in Italy’s Series A in 2012 against Napoli, rose for a ball in the early moments of the game. It came spiralling off his hand and skirted into the back of the net, and a goal was awarded.

Klose was honest with the referee and admitted he handled the ball. The goal was chalked off, and Napoli went on to win 3-0.

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Female tennis stars have been nominated for their long-standing movement for equal pay. In 2007, after pressure from Venus Williams and others, Wimbledon announced that female tennis players would receive prize money equal to the men’s.

After the policies changed in 2007, Williams was awarded $1.4 million for her fourth Wimbledon victory, the same amount as the men’s champion, Roger Federer.

To vote, visit: laureus.com/vote. Voting closes on February 16.

Lisa Isaacs

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