INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC DAY:
Five to watch in London at the 2012 Paralympics
Thursday 08 September 2011
Natalie du Toit, South Africa
The 27-year-old will be competing in her third Paralympics and chasing another five golds to add to the 10 she already holds. Du Toit, who lost her left leg after being hit by a car, also competed in the 2008 Olympics, finishing 16th in the 10km open water event. She is one of South Africa's best known sports stars and carried the country's flag in both the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics.
Jerome Singleton, USA
The sprinter from South Carolina is the man to catch – he can claim to be the fastest amputee on earth having beaten Oscar Pistorius at January's World Championships. It was the Blade Runner's first defeat in seven years. Their battle in the 100m is likely to be one of the events of next year's Paralympics. In New Zealand Singleton won in a photo finish; in Beijing Pistorius had won by 0.3sec.
David Weir, Great Britain
This will be the 32-year-old from Surrey's fourth Games and potentially his best yet. The heir to Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain's leading athlete, Weir will compete in four distance events in London: 800m, 1500m, 5,000m and the marathon. He won two golds in Beijing, and three in this year's World Championships. He has also won the London Marathon five times.
Sarah Storey, Great Britain
An outstanding all-round athlete, Storey, who was born without a left hand, competed in her first Paralympics in 1992. Grey-Thompson describes her as "unbelievably talented". This will be her sixth Games – from the previous five she has seven gold medals, eight silver and three bronze. Storey, 33, began as a swimmer but after the Athens Games she switched to cycling and won two golds in Beijing.
Daniel Dias, Brazil
Four golds, four silvers and one bronze in Beijing do not appear to have quenched the 23-year-old's thirst for success in the pool. At the 2009 World Championships he won eight golds and a silver and last year took seven golds in Eindhoven. Born with malformed upper and lower limbs, Dias did not swim competitively until he was 16 but now dominates his category in freestyle, backstroke and fly.
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