South Africa’s Natalie du Toit set her sights on her fifth gold of the Beijing Paralympics Sunday as China established a potentially decisive lead at the top of the medals table.
High-profile Olympian du Toit just needs the 50 metres freestyle to complete a clean sweep in her events and match her gold medal haul in Athens in 2004.
The 21-year-old, who has already won the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 400m freestyle events in her class, recorded the quickest time in qualifying on Sunday morning.
She said she felt good ahead of the evening race, even though she admits the sprint is her most challenging distance.
“In a 50 metre race, it’s just that I’ve got to try to come back in that very last 10 metres. It’s only one dash and then it’s over,” she said.
“The girls will really take it all out tonight. You just have to go,” she added.
Elsewhere on the penultimate night of action in the pool, Erin Popovich of the United States also goes for her fifth gold of the Games, in her class of the 50 metres.
Du Toit, who finished 16th in the Olympic 10 kilometre marathon swim, is one of only two athletes to compete at both Beijing Games along with Polish teenager Natalia Partyka, who won table tennis gold in her class.
“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius — who has already bagged two sprint golds and is aiming for a third — staged a high-profile quest to qualify for the Olympics in the 400m event, but eventually fell short.
Du Toit won five golds and a silver in Athens. She lost her left leg in a road accident in 2001, after narrowly missing qualification for the Sydney Olympics a year earlier.