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SWIMMING legend Natalie du Toit will be the centre of attention when she competes in the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Port Elizabeth.
This is the biggest multi- disability sporting event for physically disabled sportsmen and women in South Africa. It will take place at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University from March 25 to 31.
Du Toit, who competed at the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics, is the talk of the town after winning the Laureus World Sports award in the disabled category last week.
Beijing Paralympics triple gold medallist Hilton Langenhoven will also be in action. Langenhoven, who won gold in the long jump, 200m and pentathlon, will use the event as part of his preparations for the 2012 London Paralympics.
There is also Fanie van der Merwe, a rising star who performed well at the second Fazza International Athletics Competition in Dubai recently, smashing his world record time in the T37 200m.
More than 1500 physically disabled and visually impaired athletes from 12 regional associations will take part in the multi-code sports event that includes athletics, swimming, football seven-a-side (for cerebral palsied athletes), goal ball (a team sport for the blind), boccia (a team sport for the more severely disabled, which is similar to bowls), table tennis, wheelchair tennis, cycling and power lifting.
South African Sports Association for the Physically Disabled president Koos Engelbrecht said this year's national championships provides the perfect platform for athletes to shine.