Du Toit wins gold at Paralympic Games

South Africa's star Paralympics athlete took her first gold at the Games on Sunday.

updated: September 11, 2008 16:03 IST
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The United States and Britain set the early pace at the Paralympics Sunday as Olympic swimmer Natalie du Toit claimed her first gold and Chinese officials played down an embarrassing security breach.

On day one South Africa's du Toit, who finished 16th in the Olympics women's 10 kilometres swim, timed 1min 6.74sec in the 100m butterfly in her category, one of 16 golds on offer in the pool.

The 24-year-old amputee is aiming for four more wins to match her 2004 gold tally, but warned sweeping each of her five events would be difficult.

"I'm not swimming the 100m backstroke so I just have to do five races. I have to get out there and push the barriers," she said.

"They're going to be tough. There's a 50m freestyle that's going to be very, very close but I've gone out there and I've had a really good first race so hopefully the next four will come and also be good," she added.

Du Toit won five golds and a silver at the Athens Paralympics. She lost her left leg in a road accident in 2001, after narrowly missing qualification for the Sydney Olympics a year earlier.

Chinese organisers meanwhile said a woman who burst into the opening ceremony and tried to remove her clothes was mentally ill and dismissed suggestions she was mounting a political protest.

Press photos and TV pictures showed staff grappling with the woman, clad only in blue jeans and a bra, as she lay on the floor of the "Bird's Nest" National Stadium during Saturday's extravaganza.