History was made in Beijing in 2008 when Natalie du Toit became the first amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games, where she finished 16th in the 10km Open Water competition. In the Paralympic Games in Beijing, she became the toast of South Africa after winning five gold medals.
In 2009, she kept up her remarkable performances and continued to dominate swimming in South Africa. She also managed to break her goal in swimming, winning the 10km FINA women’s swim in under 1:57 hours in Dubai. In December, she was presented with the order of ‘Ikhamanga In Gold’, by President Zuma, the highest honour any South African athlete can receive. Natalie has been competing internationally in swimming since the age of 14. Natalie du Toit has previously been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award in 2004. She is also a member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors Programme.
Other nominees in the category for Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability were Justin Eveson (Australia, Wheelchair Basketball), Kurt Fearnley (Australia, Athletics), Gizem Girismen (Turkey, Archery), Shingo Kunieda (Japan, Wheelchair Tennis) and Michael Teuber (Germany, Cycling).
The 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar. The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time. The living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today.
The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy present were: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Nadia Comaneci, Kapil Dev, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Mika Hakkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Kip Keino, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Alexey Nemov, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Monica Seles, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba and Steve Waugh.
Double Oscar-winning Hollywood star Kevin Spacey hosted the glittering Awards Ceremony. Among the guests in a packed auditorium at the Emirates Palace were Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, British film stars Hugh Grant and Clive Owen, American actors Kyle MacLachlan from Desperate Housewives and Michelle Rodriguez who played leading roles in the Oscar-winning movie Avatar and the TV series Lost, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Mika who earlier drew up to the red carpet in a spectacular gull-wing Mercedes-Benz, England Test cricketer Andrew Flintoff, Formula One winner David Coulthard, world boxing champion Amir Khan, Olympic rowing legend Steve Redgrave, and supermodel Jessica Michibata.
The 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards were supported by Host Partner Aabar Investments PJSC.
For more information, please visit the official website at www.laureus.com.