Paralympics swimmer Natalie du Toit had mixed fortunes during the morning session of the opening day of the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled at the Newton Park Swimming Pool in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Although she won gold medals in both the 50m and 800m freestyle events, she missed her personal goal in the sprint race in her build-up to next month’s Telkom SA National Championships in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I’m a bit disappointed with my time in the 50m (30.52), but I can understand why things didn’t go entirely according to plan. I haven’t been focusing on sprinting.
“This has given me an indication of what I’ll have to do over the next few weeks. I’ll certainly be doing plenty of sprints.”
Du Toit, from Central Gauteng, said she was “happy” with her performance in the 800m event. “I wanted to break 9:10 and was comfortably able to do it (9:09.18).”
She was set to race the 200m individual medley, 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly events during the evening session.
Former world championships silver medallist Allen Dingle, from North West, set three new national marks in the 110kg power lifting competition for the visually impaired. He lifted 240kg in the squat discipline, bench-pressed 137,5kg and raised 250kg in the dead lift.
Competing in the weight division for the first time after coming in 1.5kg to heavy for the 100kg category, he narrowly failed to set a new world mark in the dead lift. He was forced to abort his attempt at 271kg halfway through after losing his grip on the bar.
“I’m very happy with my performance, but there is always room for improvement. Having to take part in the heavier division certainly broadened my horizons.”
Dingle said he would slim down before his next competition in order to compete in his favoured category. “That’s where I feel at home and where I will be able to perform the best.”
Western Province’s Paralympics cyclist Janos Plekker (1:16.69) arguably delivered the stand-out result of the championships thus far when he narrowly defeated fellow Paralympian and team-mate Stephan Herholdt (1:16.93) in the 1 000m time-trial for cerebral palsy sufferers.
“Given the outdoor track and windy conditions, it was a world-class performance from both,” said SA Paracycling coach and selector Elrick Kulsen.
Roxanne Burns, who won a silver medal at the world championships in Manchester last year, also had a notable result when she came to within a second of her South African record in the 500m time-trial for women despite the unfavourable conditions. She stopped the clock on 45.05.
The championships continue tomorrow with cycling, table tennis, swimming, athletics, goal ball, wheelchair tennis, boccia and football.
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