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Natalie du Toit "Go for your dreams"

Rolling Inspiration spoke to Natalie du Toit to find out how her fame has affected her life and what she is planning for the future.

RI: Natalie, you were featured in the Spring of 2002 issue of Rolling Inspiration so while you need no introduction to our readers, they were eager to see what your long-awaited disabled sports debut would bring. As we know you had unprecedented success at the Athens Paralympics 2004. Did you think you would be as successful as you were? What were your feelings before going to the Games and now looking back?

Natalie: I was nervous as I didn't know what to expect.

RI: In 2002 you said after your arrival back from the Commonwealth Games: People are looking at my face again, not my leg. You have come a long way since then and you are now even more famous then before. How do you feel about this fame and is the statement still true, or even truer?

Natalie: I am the same Natalie du Toit. I haven't changed.

RI: You were also quoted as saying: If you want to get to the top, you need to work for it every day. Can you give us some insights and experiences of what it took to get to Athens 2004?

Natalie: It took lots and lots of training in the pool and the gym. There were some days when I was training up to 14 or 15 kilometres a day.

RI: After the Commonwealth Games and winning the David Dixon trophy, you said: “The Games gave me back my life.” What did the Athens Paralympics give you?

Natalie: They gave me the inspiration to try and qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

RI: At the time of the accident you said you just wanted your life back, and to swim again. Now following the Athens Paralympics what are your goals?

Natalie: I would like to put the structures in place to help me qualify for the Olympics in 2008.

RI: Has your life changed since the Paralympics?

Natalie: Yes, there are now lots of media, talks and functions I have to attend.

RI: You are only 20 years old. You have said that South African athletes peak as late as 24 years and your time is close to qualifying (4:29:09) for the Olympics. Does this mean you will be looking to the Beijing Olympics as your next challenge?

Natalie: I am going to give it my best shot in qualifying.

RI: In 2002 your inspiration was Terrence Parker who won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. Is he still your main inspiration or is there someone else you are inspired by now?

Natalie: If I had to select an athlete who I regard as an inspiration it would be Lance Armstrong.

RI: How does it feel to be seen as an inspirational person and athlete since returning from Athens 2004?

Natalie: It feels great. The people of South Africa have really encouraged me.

RI: In the 2002 interview with us you said: “Its about fulfilling a dream. There are certain things one has to give up in order to get what you want.” What are the things you have had to give up to get where you have?

Natalie: Mainly lots of my time.

RI: Do you have any inspirational words for our readers?

Natalie: Go for your dreams and goals. Everything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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