Dasmariñas still not used to fanfare ahead of second crack at IBO title

first_imgMichael Dasmariñas during his open workout at Kerry Sports in Taguig. Photo by Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.betAll the media attention Michael Dasmariñas got on Wednesday reminded him of the last time he fought for a boxing crown.“It was nothing like this,” a smiling Dasmariñas told INQUIRER.net in Filipino during a press conference at Kerry Sports in Shangri La at the Fort in Taguig.ADVERTISEMENT Dasmariñas, who is tipped to become the next Filipino world champion, should get used to the fanfare especially if he beats Karim Guerfi of France for the vacant International Boxing Organization world bantamweight title on April 20 in Singapore.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThe 25-year-old Dasmariñas (27-2, 18 KOs) knows Guerfi, who is the No. 4 fighter in the WBC ranking, is a quality opponent.“He’s not a nobody. He’s ahead of me in the WBC ranking and he also has a good record like me,” he said. It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Dasmariñas, the Camarines Sur native, thinks the fight is a tossup, although he believes he has the advantage when it comes to punching power.“We’re both volume punchers and we’re almost equal in speed but he doesn’t hit that hard,” said Dasmariñas, who started boxing when he was nine years old in Bicol and decided to continue his boxing career in Manila at 18 after he graduated high school.His trainer and former Filipino world champion Tacy Macalos also sees Dasmariñas’ power and footwork as his edge.Macalos said Dasmariñas also has to embrace the underdog label and use it to his advantage.“It will serve as a challenge and motivation for him to work much harder and win the title,” Macalos said in Filipino.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Paul Lee doubling efforts on both ends as Magnolia heads to semis Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Dasmariñas, who is in the second of his four-fight contract with Ringstar Boxing, dropped a close decision to Lwandile Sityatha of South Africa for the same belt in the super flyweight division in 2014.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hourslast_img read more

73 graduate from N/A Technical Institute

first_imgSeventy-three persons are now eligible to apply for new jobs in the East Berbice- Corentyne area (Region 6) and on the West Coast of Berbice (Region 5) after successfully completing courses in fifteen subject areas at the New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI).Best graduation student Tamesha LewisAt the NATI 45th Convocation and Prize Giving Ceremony hosted on Wednesday last, graduands received certificates to signal qualification in courses that fall under the Building department, Business department and Electrical and Engineering department.This year’s overall performance indicated an improvement by four per cent compared to 2016, and is the second highest over the past five years, with the best results being recorded in 2015 at 85 percent, according to NATI Principal, Maxine Thompson.However, this was not achieved without difficulties being experienced in some subject areas.The Building department yielded a 47 per cent success rate in 2017, with a ten percent decrease in performance when compared to 2016.Thompson related that the Engineering department achieved a 96 per cent success rate in 2017, which is two per cent more than in 2016.One hundred percent passes were achieved in Electrical, Electronics and Fitting and Machining.“The Business Department achieved 76 per cent success in 2017. This is a 34 per cent increase in performance when compared to 2016’s performance. Eighteen percent of candidates were referred in 2017. This is four percent less than the overall candidates’ performance in 2016. Thirty-seven percent each were from the Building and Business departments, and twenty-six percent were from the Science Department. Eleven percent of candidates failed in 2017, this represents a three percent increase over 2016. Seventy-three percent of candidates who failed were from the Science Department, eighteen percent were from the Engineering Department, and nine percent from the Building Department,” Thompson said in her report.The principal noted that Science and Technology proved to be problematic in the Engineering Department.Thompson explained that NATI commenced piloting seven courses using the competency Based Mode of education delivery (CBE) in September 2014.Problems such as students’ resistance and reluctance to be responsible for their learning, lecturers’ confusion, lack of adequate equipment, and other facilities in keeping with the required standards were encountered.According to Thompson, another major problem stemmed from confusion regarding approval for NATI to commence piloting these programmes, resulting in an impasse.Following interventions from concerned members of the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET), as well as stakeholders’ sessions that were held.The Electrical programme was given approval by CTVET, following which ten students were issued Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Level 1 certification in May, 2017.“I am happy to report that students in Welding, Motor Vehicle Repairs, Masonry, Plumbing and General Office Administration, occupational areas were assessed and a total of fifty-two individuals are among the graduation class of 2017, and will be issued with the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Level 1.”She said it is the administration’s hope that with these awards now being issued to students, the learners would be motivated to work harder to complete their respective programmes. Also, students who would have discontinued their programme out of frustration will return to complete their respective occupational area, thus be able to be assessed and certified, she added.Meanwhile, Founder and Managing Director of GeoTech Vision, Valerie Grant, spoke at the convocation ceremony and urged graduands to apply the knowledge and skills they have learnt during their time at the institution, in a manner that would make them ambassadors for their alma mater.Tamesha Lewis graduated as the valedictorian, and took to the podium to share a few final words. During her inspirational speech, Lewis expressed gratitude to family members and colleagues for their invaluable support during her years at NATI. She described those years as challenging, yet successful in the end.She stressed that success comes only through hard work, while urging her colleagues to endeavour to make themselves more marketable, and to not just close that chapter, but rather to invest in the training they have received in order to increase their gain.The Government Technical Institute was established in 1951 and is now the leading technical institute in Guyana. It is committed to offering quality training to clients with the availability of high quality facilities, qualified staff at two locations-Georgetown and New Amsterdam, Berbice.last_img read more

No complaints at Pebble

first_imgThree straight birdies on the back nine at tame Pebble Beach, and a simple up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 18th enabled him to catch Furyk and reach 12-under 132. Furyk also was pleased to see the flags drooping instead of flapping when he arrived at Poppy Hills, especially after seeing a forecast of 15-mph wind and heavy rain. The rain was brief and light, and he birdied all but one of the par5s on his way to a 65. “I think we got out of it pretty good today,” Furyk said. “Hoping for the same tomorrow.” That gave the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am a good 1-2 punch at the top from the two highest-ranked players in the field. Furyk (No. 2) and Mickelson (No. 6) had a three-shot lead over rookie John Mallinger and Kevin Sutherland, who turned in the best round of the dreary afternoon by firing off 10 birdies for a 63 at Spyglass Hill. Mickelson only had to cope with the cold and rain – but not much wind – and that helped him sail to a 5-under 67 and a share of the lead with Jim Furyk at the PebbleBeach National Pro-Am. “It was a good day. We got a pretty good draw,” Mickelson said. “It was a little windy the last three or four holes, but I’m not going to complain. We had a great day to take advantage of scoring.” Phil Mickelson is so enthused about how well he is hitting the ball that he was looking forward to tough, windy conditions along the ocean Friday at Pebble Beach. He didn’t get what he wanted, and had few complaints. center_img Sutherland thought briefly about the course record of 62at Spyglass, just long enough to snap-hook his 3-wood into the trees and out of play on the par-5 seventh. He reloaded with a two-stroke penalty, reached the green in two, escaped with a bogey and didn’t let one bad hole take away from his round. “Spyglass is one of my favorite courses in the world,” said Sutherland, who has played it countless times dating to his amateur days in Northern California. “I’d rather play there than Pebble Beach. But a 63was not the score I was thinking about when I teed off.” Davis Love III made a quiet climb into contention with a 67at Pebble Beach, but perhaps the biggest surprise came from the group behind Mickelson – 57-year-old Tom Watson, playing this tournament for the lasttime. Watson asked to play with his son, Michael, and birdied three of his first four holes. His 68 leaves him six shots behind at 6-under 138. Watson is also tied for second in the pro-am competition with his son. Flying high: Craig Stadler eagled the par-5 18th hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-stroke lead at the Allianz Championships in Boca Raton, Fla., while Nick Price shot a 71 in his firstChampions Tour round. The 53-year-old Stadler, winless the past two seasons after topping the leader board eighttimes in his first two years on the 50-and-over tour, had a bogey-free round on The Old Course at Broken Sound. The round was Stadler’s lowest since a career-best 60 in the second round of the 2005 Blue Angels Classic. Overseas: South Korea’s Ahn Sun-ju shot a 4-under 68 to take a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Australian Ladies Masters. Wie out a month: Michelle Wie injured her wrist in a fall while running and is wearing a hard cast that will keep her away from golf for at least a month, a family spokesman said. The 17-year-old’s raises questions whether she will recover in time for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA major of the year that starts March 29. New sites considered: The PGA Tour has narrowed its search to four cities to replace the International, and commissioner Tim Finchem said that a return to Washington, D.C., likely would be the first choice if all options were equal. The other cities being considered for the Fourth of July spot on the schedule are Portland, Ore., Minneapolis and another market he declined to identify that “just came across the tracks.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_img5:30 p.m.ALDS Game 2: Angels at Boston TBS710 Boxing 11 p.m.Yonnhy Perez v. Alexander Fedorov (taped)Show College Football 5 p.m.Utah at LouisvilleESPN Prep Football 5 p.m.Missouri: Parkway North at Parkway WestESPNU 7:30 p.m.California: Servite at Notre DamePrime Golf 5:30 a.m.PGA European Dunhill Links Champ.Golf 9:30 a.m.Champions Senior Players ChampionshipGolf NoonPGA Texas OpenGolf 3:30 p.m.Nationwide M. Christopher Charity ClassicGolf 5:30 p.m.LPGA Longs Drugs Challenge (delayed)Golf Hockey 4 p.m.Ducks at ColumbusPrime830 Motorsports 9 a.m.Nextel Cup UAW-Ford 500 practiceSpeed 10 a.m.Trucks Mountain Dew 250 qualifyingSpeed 12:30 p.m.Nextel Cup UAW-Ford 500 final practiceSpeed 2 p.m.ARCA RE/MAX 250Speed 11 p.m.F1 Grand Prix of China qualifyingSpeed College Soccer 5 p.m.Men: Clemson at MarylandFSC Tennis 4 a.m.WTA Porsche Grand Prix, semis (Saturday)Tennis Horse Racing 2 p.m.Trackside Live: Oak TreePrime Times may be different for satellite TV viewers; consult your guide. TV INDEX: CBS (Ch. 2); NBC (Ch. 4); KTLA (Ch. 5); ABC (Ch. 7); KCAL (Ch. 9); Fox (Ch. 11); KCOP (Ch. 13); KSCI (Ch. 18); KWHY (Ch. 22); KVMD (Ch. 23); KPXN (Ch. 30); KMEX (Ch. 34); KFTR (Ch. 46); KVEA (Ch. 52); KAZA (Ch. 54); KDOC (Ch. 56); KJLA (Ch. 57); KLCS (Ch. 58); CSTV (College Sports Television); ESPNC (ESPN Classic); FSC (Fox Soccer Channel); FSE (Fox Sports En Espa ol); FSN (Fox Sports Net West); Prime (Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket); Show (Showtime); Speed (Speed Channel); Tennis (Tennis Channel); TNT (Turner Network Television). RADIO INDEX: XSUR (540 AM); KLAC (570 AM); KRLH (590 AM); KOGO (600 AM); KIRN (670 AM); XTRA (690 AM); KSPN (710 AM); KLAA (830 AM); KIIS (850 AM); KRLA (870 AM); KFWB (980 AM); KTNQ (1020 AM); KNX (1070 AM); XPRS (1090 AM); KDIS (1110 AM); KSDP (1130 AM); KTLK (1150 AM); KXMX (1190 AM); KWKU (1220 AM); KKGO (1260 AM); KWKW (1330 AM); KPOP (1360 AM); KSPA (1510 AM); CASH (1700 AM); KLSX (97.1 FM). ——— Home games ——— Away games x-if necessary160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ON THE AIR TODAY’S EVENTSTVRADIO Baseball 2 p.m.ALDS Game 2: New York at ClevelandTBS710 last_img read more

Hanging with the artists

first_imgLANCASTER – Works by artists Olga Von Geczy, Gabriella Mallar and Kim Winberry go on display Saturday at the Cedar Centre art gallery. A reception will run from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, 44845 Cedar Ave. The Leona Valley Winery will host a wine-tasting during the reception. At 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the Hungarian-born Von Geczy will be in the gallery for a painting demonstration. The show runs through July 7. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Gallery hours are noon to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Admission is free.last_img read more


first_imgCasement Park is the place to be this Saturday night – that’s the message to Gaels across Ireland as final preparations for the Match for Michaela are put into place.Jim McGuinness takes his Donegal heroes to west Belfast to take on the rest of Ulster in the main clash.The Michaela Foundation has asked us to explain a bit more about tonight – and what it’s all about: TONIGHTAdmission is payable on the night, simply pay at the turnstile, or for those thousands of people who have already purchased their ticket just show it at the turnstile.  Admission is £10/€10 for adults and £5/€5 for children with all proceeds going to the Michaela Foundation.THE FOUNDATIONThe Michaela Foundation is inspired through the life of Michaela McAreavey, who passed away on the 10th January 2011. Michaela’s husband, John and the Harte family wanted to commemorate and celebrate Michaela’s life … and have big plans for the future! Michaela – The Person!Michaela was a young woman who possessed amazing attributes which enriched her life immensely and the lives of all she met. She was bubbly, energetic, kind and thoughtful.  Michaela was a woman of great faith, who believed this faith was the reason she was so happy in her life. She had a love of the Gaelic language and above else loved to have fun and enjoy life. Michaela was also a keen Pioneer and exhibited her love of life without the need for alcohol or additives.Forever the fashionista, Michaela was passionate about fashion and loved to keep up to date with new trends emerging as well as setting her own! With an eye for a bargain, she loved to pick up the ‘High Street look’ without the hefty price tags!  With a confident and assertive mindset, Michaela always stood up for the right thing and encouraged her friends and students to always follow their heart, not society norms or peer pressure.The Michaela FoundationThe Michaela Foundation believes that the values by which Michaela lived her life should live on and that young people can succeed in life, fulfilled and happy, with faith, confidence and fun as their foundation. Since its inception, The Michaela Foundation has strategically planned how it can help inspire and encourage young people in Ireland to reach these values. So far, two flagship programmes have been put in place to achieve this.Student Award SchemeIn early 2012, The Michaela Foundation awarded three Fresher students in Irish, Religious Education and General discipline with £1,000 each to assist with their university fees. After carefully selecting three worthy applicants, who we deem ‘Michaela Scholars’, the student awardees began writing a monthly blog, ‘View from the Student’. The blog allows the students to share their experience in their first year in university, from the social scene right through to exam pressures.Michaela Girls Summer Camp In July 2012, nestled deep in the rolling Tyrone landscape, the first ever Michaela Girls SummerCamp came into being, bringing a little bit of magic into the lives of seventy young girls. Crucially, of course, those seventy young people brought a lot of magic into the lives of others.Established to commemorate and celebrate Michaela’s values, and to continue the good work she carried out through her dedication to her students at St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, the Summer Camp offered 11 to 13 year-old girls the opportunity to experience a plethora of inspiring and entertaining activities, all taught by highly experienced experts in a fun and supportive environment.Sessions at the camp were divided into five categories, each one celebrating a core principle or skill that was pivotal in Michaela’s life. These five core elements – the core themes of The Michaela Foundation – were Fun, Fashion, Faith, Irish and Well-being.Activities included, new fashion styles, cupcake design, making rose bath bombs, healthy eating,Irish singing, understanding the rosary and a lot more! There was so much happening in this camp, only those who attended truly appreciated the ‘The Michaela Girls Camp experience!’What’s Next?The Student Award Scheme will continue to run on an annual basis, giving three Fresher students the chance to become Michaela Scholars each year and aid their university fees.  The Michaela Girls Camp will be rolled out in different counties throughout Ireland, giving young girls aged 11-13 the chance to experience something truly magical! ‘The Michaela Centre’We aim to provide a hub for all our future activities, nestled in Glencull, Co. Tyrone where Michaela was born and raised. We’re giving the planning of this project the time and thought it deserves and are working hard at scoping out what it will be and what it will do. Among the Centre ‘building blocks’ we’re looking at are:•       A ‘Tea House’ Styled Café•       3G Pitch•       Residential area for Camps to run throughout summer•       Place to Reflect/Retreat•       Schedule of on-going activities to include Irish Classes; health and well being initiatives; prayer; and Faith development•       Confidence Building in YouthAbove all it will be a place of fun; enjoyment; and comfort.If you have any ideas about what should be in The Michaela Centre and how the place might work, then please let us know at enquiries@themichaelafoundation.comYou can also help achieve this dream by  supporting Saturday night’s Match for Michaela – A Festival with Football.  Gates open at 5pm with entertainment starting at 6pm in Casement Park Belfast.UP FOR THE MATCH FOR MICHAELA – WHAT HER FOUNDATION WILL DO was last modified: November 3rd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:UP FOR THE MATCH FOR MICHAELA – WHAT HER FOUNDATION WILL DOlast_img read more


first_imgThe army has confirmed that a device left outside newly-elected county councillor John O’Donnell’s home was a live device.Independent John O’Donnell after being elected to Donegal County Council in May.The Army Bomb Disposal Team rendered safe the viable improvised explosive device outside his home in Downings.Cllr O’Donnell was made aware of the device last night by Gardai but the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team did not arrive until this morning. The device was made safe at 10.30am.An army spokesman confirmed “The Defence Forces deployed the Army Bomb Disposal Team in response to a request from An Garda Síochána after they were alerted to a suspect device in Carrigart, near Milford, Donegal.“A cordon and road closures were put in place for public safety and a number of nearby houses were evacuated. The team arrived on scene at 8.45 am.“The device was made safe at the scene, without the need for a controlled explosion and was taken away to a safe military location for further testing where it was later confirmed as a viable Imporvised Explosive Device (IED.) “All component parts and items of an evidential nature will be handed over to the Gardaí to assist them with their investigation into the incident.”Cllr O’Donnell has so far failed to make a comment on the incident.‘IT WAS A REAL BOMB’ – ARMY CONFIRM DEVICE LEFT OUTSIDE COUNCILLOR’S HOME WAS LIVE was last modified: August 15th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gardai hospitalised after overnight crash

first_imgThree Gardai are being treated in hospital after their car was struck by a suspected drink-driver in the early hours of this morning.The patrol vehicle was badly damaged in the incident which took place in Letterkenny.Extra Gardai are on duty in the town for this weekend’s Donegal International Rally. A 17-year-old boy was detained following the crash, which happened at 3.30am on the town’s Ballyraine Road.It’s understood the three gardaí suffered minor injuries in the incident. They are expected to make a full recovery.The patrol vehicle was parked at the time as the three gardai were conducting a search for a missing person in the area.Gda Insp Michael Harrison said 30 people were arrested overnight. “They were detained in relation to a range of offenses including dangerous driving, drink-driving and public order incidents,” he said.District Court Judge Paul Kelly is on call this weekend in Letterkenny with a number of special sittings of the court scheduled to deal with the expected disorder.Gardaí reported that the vast majority of the 40,000 rally fans have been well behaved and blamed overnight incidents on a tiny minority.Gardai hospitalised after overnight crash was last modified: June 18th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘This is not for any aul eejit’ – RTÉ presenter takes on terrifying climb at Sliabh Liag

first_imgYou can almost feel Carl Mullan’s fear as he braves the heights of Sliabh Liag for his new RTE series.The 2FM presenter recently visited Donegal to film an episode of Go Outside and Play, the new non-traditional travel series launching this week.Carl couldn’t contain his nerves, and his amazement, as he took on the One Man’s Path at Sliabh Liag. With nothing but staggering drops at either side, he soon realised it’s not for the faint-hearted. Watch a preview below:This incredible Donegal adventure will be featured in episode two of Go Outside and Play. The show will be streamed on the RTE Player from Monday 8th July. The series promises to take viewers to some of the most stunning and instagrammable spots in Ireland. Viewers will be able to follow Carl’s adventures to some of the most stunning parts of Ireland, from the ultimate sea cliff experience at Sliabh Liag to the Stairway to Heaven at the Cuilcagh Mountain Boardwalk in Co Fermanagh. Commenting on his new series, Carl said: “The whole idea for the series came about from scrolling through Instagram and coming across an image of a lake in Waterford. It’s called Coumshingaun Lake, and to be honest with you, I couldn’t believe that a place so spectacular was in Ireland. If you had said it was in Canada or Iceland I would have believed you, but Ireland? No way! “I started doing some research about places to go see in Ireland that aren’t necessarily on the front page of a tourism magazine. “We featured 6 of them, but there’s so many of them you wouldn’t believe it. “We live on an incredible little island and I hope this series will give you a sense of that. Once you’ve watched it you’ll want to call your mates, hop in the car with them and go on an adventure.” ‘This is not for any aul eejit’ – RTÉ presenter takes on terrifying climb at Sliabh Liag was last modified: July 5th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:carl mullanGo Outside and PlayRTEsliabh liagtourismlast_img read more

Natalie wins Human Values award

first_imgTeam South Africa, led by Natalie du Toit, enters the National Stadium during theopening ceremony of the 2008 Paralympics.(Image: Sascoc) Natalie du Toit receives the IAHVYouth Leadership Award 2008 fromAlbanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha.(Image: IAHV) Du Toit’s courage and fierce competitivespirit has taken her to the top.(Image: Sascoc)Janine ErasmusSouth African swimming champion Natalie du Toit, the only leg amputee ever to have qualified for both the Olympics and Paralympics, was honoured by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) with their 2008 Youth Leadership award. The award pays tribute to young people who demonstrate an unsurpassed professional performance or outstanding qualities of social responsibility.Du Toit had already made history several times before she dived into the water of Beijing’s Shunyi Rowing-Canoeing Park, the scene of the inaugural men’s and women’s Olympic 10km marathon swimming event. She is the first female leg amputee ever to qualify for the Olympic Games, according to Time magazine, who named her as one of its 100 athletes to watch during the 2008 summer games.Her compatriot, controversial 400m amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who runs with carbon-fibre prosthetic blades and goes by the fond nickname of Blade Runner, did not qualify for the Olympics. Pistorius was deemed eligible by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the International Association of Athletics Federations barred him from competitions conducted under its rules, including the 2008 summer Olympics. Pistorius went on to win three gold medals at the Paralympics.Du Toit was the only South African on Time’s list and while the team as a whole failed to live up to expectations, she was the pride of South Africans at home and abroad and the darling of the international press. Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka was the first arm amputee to compete at Beijing 2008.Vote for Natalie du Toit as the international female open water swimmer of the year. The winners will be selected on 1 January 2009. At the time of writing du Toit was joint third in the poll, but with 41 days left to vote South Africans can change her ranking!Unquenchable spiritDu Toit was honoured by the IAHV because of her unquenchable spirit, said board member Christoph Glaser. “We admire the fact that she has become a source of inspiration to the youth of her country,” he added.The IAHV is a UK-chartered charity that works solely for the development and promotion of human values. Founded in Geneva in 1997, the IAHV operates around the world, including South Africa. The organisation gives its Human Values awards to those whom it believes to have upheld core human principles through their dedication, commitment and hard work. Former South African President Nelson Mandela is a previous recipient.The award was bestowed on du Toit at the European Parliament in Brussels during the World Youth Forum, part of the Ethics in Business – Corporate Culture and Spirituality Conference. The annual event brings together a diverse mix of politicians, academics, and business and spiritual leaders from many countries to discuss ongoing implementation of an ethics-based approach to deal with the challenges in today’s global markets.Du Toit was also a guest speaker at the conference. “It is a real honour to be representing South Africa and to receive this award, especially at this prestigious event which includes such esteemed delegates,” she said.Just a month earlier du Toit visited the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg at the request of Nelson Mandela, who was on hand to personally congratulate the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic medallists.Making historyNatalie du Toit earned her Olympic berth in May 2008, when she came fourth in her event at the open water world championships in Seville, Spain. “To be here is a dream come true,” she said later in Beijing. “A dream is something that you set for yourself, not what other people set for you. When I qualified in Seville I burst into tears. I couldn’t believe that I was going to the Olympic Games.”Later at the Olympics, while she came in 16th out of 25 competitors, a mere 82 seconds behind the winner, du Toit won the hearts of viewers and around the world with her courage and determination. She went on to take five gold medals and a silver at the Paralympic Games, where South Africa’s athletes excelled, bringing home 30 medals including 21 gold.“I tried my best,” du Toit said after the event. “I’m not too happy with it, but I’ll be back for 2012.” The next summer Olympic event takes place in London in 2012.After the race du Toit’s erstwhile rivals praised her achievement. “I was swimming next to her and she beat me – and she has one leg,” said 16-year-old American Chloe Sutton before breaking down in tears. “It’s incredible she was able to do that.”Winner Larisa Ilchenko of Russia echoed the American’s sentiments. “I have enormous respect for her. It is exceedingly hard. Just looking at these people inspires you,” she said, speaking through a translator.Inspiring othersNot surprisingly du Toit has become a popular motivational speaker in South Africa, and makes time to appear at companies, schools, churches, and other social groups, as long as it does not interfere with her training. “I’d like to be a role model for everyone who has problems to get up and fight,” she said.Her speaking career took off after a scooter accident in 2001 and the subsequent amputation of her left leg at the knee, which temporarily halted her promising swimming career.Remarkably, she was back in the pool before she had even recovered enough to walk steadily again, and in the next few years made a name for herself at swimming events around the world, as well as two Commonwealth Games and the 2004 Paralympic Games. Already a record breaker, she was the first disabled athlete to qualify for the final of an international able-bodied swimming event – this was at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.The Olympics was an ambition she had nurtured since the age of six, and not only did she achieve her life-long dream in 2008 but she carried the South African flag into the National Stadium during the opening ceremony on the night of 8 August. Two months later she again led Team South Africa into the arena for the Paralympic Games.At the close of the Beijing Paralympics, du Toit was named the winner of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award. The award is named after South Korean Dr Whang Youn Dai, who became that country’s first disabled female physician, and instituted the award at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul. South Africa’s Zanele Situ, champion wheelchair javelin thrower, was the female recipient after the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.Du Toit, Pistorius and Situ have all been honoured at home with a Presidential National Order, the highest award that South Africa can bestow on its citizens, or distinguished foreigners.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.last_img read more