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Du Toit clinches third gold medal at Paralympics

by BuaNews Online
on 12 Sep 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

South African swimmer Natalie du Toit scooped her third gold medal at the Beijing Paralympics by winning the women's 200-metre individual medley on Thursday.

The South African amputee swimmer clocked 2 minutes 27.83 seconds, finishing more than two seconds off her own record in her class.

"I just went out there and had a good race. I just enjoyed it. I felt good in the warm-up so to get out there and have a good race was a bonus," said Du Toit.

Du Toit, who had won the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly earlier this week, will also take part in 50m freestyle and 400m freestyle.

The first female amputee to compete in an able-bodied Olympics, Du Toit finished 16th among 25 competitors in the 10-kilometre open-water swim last month at the Beijing Games.

Meanwhile, China pulled away in the race for most medals won, leading the count with 33 golds, 37 silvers and 26 bronzes.

Britain was second with 27 golds, 15 silvers and 14 bronzes. The United States was third on 18-12-14.

South Africa was eighth on the ladder with eight golds, one sliver, and three bronzes.

These sporting achievements, however, were overshadowed by a string of doping scandals.

Facourou Sissoko of Mali and Liudmyla Osmanova of Ukraine, both powerlifting competitors, have been expelled from the Paralympics after testing positive for steroids, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said.

German wheelchair basketball player Ahmet Coskun had also been kicked out of the Games as traces of finasteride were found in his urine sample taken on August 23.

The German National Paralympic Committee said that although finasteride is a non-performance enhancement medication, it can be used to cover up drugs that do. Coskun, 33, insisted the positive result might result from using a drug for hair loss treatment.

That brought to four the number of athletes caught using illegal substances.

Pakistani powerlifter Naveed Ahmed Butt had been banned after failing a doping test earlier in the week.

The IPC said it plans to conduct 1 100 tests at the Sept. 6-17 Games. So far, 461 tests, both in and out of competition, have been carried out.

More than 4 000 athletes from 147 countries and regions compete here in 20 sports in five different categories of disability, with a total of 472 gold medals at stake. - BuaNews-Xinhua

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