South Africa names du Toit to both Olympic, Paralympic teams

Updated: June 12, 2008, 11:23 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

JOHANNESBURG -- Swimmer Natalie du Toit will compete in the Olympics and the Paralympics at the Beijing Games after she was named to South Africa's team on Thursday.

Du Toit, who lost her left leg after a road accident in 2001, qualified for the Olympics last month when she finished fourth in the 10-kilometer race at the open water world championships.

Du Toit won five golds and a silver at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

"Natalie is setting history as the first athlete to compete in both the Paralympics and Olympics, which is a phenomenal triumph. It is a tremendous achievement by any measure," Moss Mashishi, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said on Thursday.

"We are immensely proud of Natalie, even though I don't think she recognizes yet what she has done in global terms. She has set our country on the map and we have absolute confidence that she will do herself and South Africa justice in both events," Mashishi said.

Another South African, double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, made headlines with his efforts to be allowed to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics.

Pistorius, who runs on J-shaped carbon fiber blades, last month won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport that cleared him to compete alongside able-bodied competitors.

There have been no issues with du Toit competing at the Olympics because she does not use a prosthetic limb.

Pistorius has not qualified yet for the Olympics, but has resumed training and will be competing in both paralympic and able-bodied meets through the end of July.

Pistorius, who hopes to run the 400 at Beijing, must run the 400 in less than 45.55 seconds to qualify for the Olympics. His personal-best is 46.56 seconds.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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