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Charl’s medal stolen

By Mark Etheridge

Beijing Paralympics gold medallist swimmer Charl Bouwer will use the theft of his medal in Kimberley this weekend to motivate him to win more medals.

Bouwer, who won his medal in the 400-metre freestyle event in world record time four years ago, told Road to London 2012 on Wednesday that he refused to let the theft get to him.

“I was in England last week, attending the British Gas Olympic qualifying event and heard about the loss on Saturday morning. My folks, who live in Kimberley, were in Cape Town to support my sister at the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and my sister phoned me on Saturday.

“Apparently the house was broken into and the safe was removed along with my medal and other valuables as well as a lot of electrical goods and even the linen from the beds.”

But, partially sighted Bouwer refused to let the loss affect his focus. “It’s tough because its obviously a unique medal and even has your specific event on it and apparently the mould gets broken afterwards so it’s not like I can order another!

“I’ll use this as motivation by thinking that I’ve lost my first gold medal where I set my first Paralympic world record and just try and get more now. I would have liked it to show my kids one day but that’s life… I have kept it locked up in the safe for three years now so haven’t seen it for a while. But I’ll definitely miss it.”

Bouwer is still hoping that someone out there will latch on to the significance of the medal. “Should I get it back, it will be like winning it all over again,” said the Stellenbosch based swimmer.

He returned from London with renewed optimism for the Paralympics later this year. “I didn’t race but still swam in the Olympic pool. Heerden [Herman] and I swam seven kilometres on Saturday and it felt like a really good pool ÔÇô nice and quick, you feel like you can swim personal bests it in it.

“Psychologically it was invaluable to go to London before the Paralympics. It takes a lot off your mind and you have a lot less to worry about ahead of the competition.”