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Natalie’s golden goodbye

Delhi: Natalie du Toit ended her Commonwealth Games career with a third gold medal of these championships with a stunning victory in the S9 100m butterfly final.

As has been the case so often in the past, the Paralympic legend destroyed her opposition to win by nearly six seconds, touching the wall in 1min 07.32sec. She started her Commonwealth career as an able-bodied athlete in 1998, but has piled up the gold medals over 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Roland Schoeman himself has collected 11 Commonwealth medals over the years and his silver in the 50m freestyle, behind Canadian flyer Brent Hayden, nudged him level with the Australian great Ian Thorpe. Schoeman’s time was 22.14 and he was chased home by countryman Gideon Louw (22.22).

The rising distance swimmer Heerden Herman put up a titanic struggle before having to settle for silver in the men’s 1500m freestyle, with Mark Randall just touched off for fourth place.

Herman touched the wall in 15min 03.70sec, just two seconds behind the Canadian champion Ryan Cochrane (15:01.49). Randall was involved in a race of his own for third, before giving up the medal in the last 200m, finishing in 15:15.40.

Randall had started strongly and he and Herman were second and third through the 250m, when Herman accelerated. From there on the race followed a familiar pattern, with Cochrane a body length or two ahead of the South African. Nevertheless, the time Herman produced suggested over the next two years he will be able to go under the 15 minute barrier – and when he does, he’s in medal territory for the Olympic Games.

The 4x100m medley relay team provided swimming’s 16th medal of the Games – of the entire squad only Randall didn’t get a medal, and he finished fourth – and that was down to Charl van Zyl, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos and Gideon Louw.