Du Toit and Cowdrey Claim Commonwealth Games Victories

07 Oct 2010 By IPC

Paralympic Swimming stars Natalie du Toit (South Africa) and Matthew Cowdrey (Australia) claimed spectacular victories in the women’s and men’s 50m freestyle S9 event at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, this week.

The 26-year-old South African, who lost her leg in a motorbike accident in 2001, retained her Commonwealth title for the third straight Games. The 10-time Paralympic gold medallist claimed victory in a Commonwealth Games record of 29.17sec as she held off Australia’s Annabelle Williams into silver, and England's Stephanie Millward into bronze.

DuToit is now set to compete in the women’s S9 100m freestyle and women’s S9 100m butterfly, the other women’s events for para-athletes on the swimming schedule in Delhi.

Five-time Paralympic gold medalist Matthew Cowdrey produced a sensational swim as he shaved a hundredth of a second off his own world record to clinch Commonwealth Games gold in the men’s S9 50m freestyle in 25.33sec. England’s Simon Miller picked up the silver medal in 26.70 while India’s Prasanta Karmakar, who took bronze in 27.48, made his own piece of history by winning his nation’s first ever swimming medal.

Cowdrey is set to return to the pool on Saturday for the men’s S9 100m freestyle where he will be strong favourite to claim his second gold of the Games.

While the Swimming events for para-athletes started on 5 October, the first Athletics event took place today with the women’s F32-34/52/53 shot put.

Paralympian Louise Ellery has kicked off Australia’s gold medal campaign at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, with a throw of 6.17 metres. The two time Paralympian, whose F32 shot put world record was beaten by Greece’s Maria Stamatoula in June, was unable to reclaim the mark, falling short of the current distance by just one centimetre.

In the meantime, Paralympian Danielle Brown was part of the gold winning English Archery squad, who beat Canada in the women’s team compound event today. Brown already made history in Delhi, becoming the first English Paralympian to compete at an able-bodied Commonwealth Games event, when she finished 14th in the women’s individual compound event on 4 October.

There are 15 events for para-athletes at the Commonwealth Games with six in Swimming, six in Athletics, two in Powerlifting and one in Table Tennis which is only open to women.