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Star killed while training
- Updated: January 19, 2011
The South African cycling community has been rocked by the tragic death of one of the country’s foremost athletes, Carla Swart.
Sport24 reports that Swart was killed after being hit by a truck while training in the Free State province on Wednesday morning.
Swart represented South Africa at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where she finished as the highest-placed SA rider in eighth position in the women’s road race.
Swart rode for the HTC-Highroad women’s team.
Mark Etheridge writes that Swart, born in Graaff Reinet and a former member of the South African MTN team, was on holiday in South Africa before she was scheduled to return to Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina in the United States.
SASCOC’s quarterly Road to London 2012 magazine carried a feature on 23-year-old Swart in the latest issue.
Said SASCOC president Gideon Sam: “SASCOC are devastated at this loss of one our country’s top sporting talents. Carla showed us at the world road championships in Australia and at the Commonwealth Games in India that she was well on track to being part of the team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and was a definite medal chance.
“We mourn her untimely death and our heartfelt condolences go out to the family.”
Tributes poured in to Swart’s Facebook page. Her father Deon said: “We all know Carla has claimed her place in Heaven. She was in an cycling accident today in South Africa while training. Thanks to everyone that was so involved in her life and career. RIP Carla. What more can I say at this stage.”
“Carla was undoubtedly South Africa’s leading prospect for a medal at the Olympics,” Douglas Ryder, former manager of MTN Qhubekha, told cyclenation.co.za.
“She had achieved great results for us on the World Cup circuit and in the two years with us had improved from 32nd at the World Champs to 10th at the last World Champs. It was clear she was on her way to the top,” said Ryder.
“She was an amazing, strong, mature and driven women who was a definite medal hope. She rode her bike to support her family, put herself through university and chased her dreams. The ramifications of today affect not only her family but cycling as a whole in South Africa,” said Ryder.