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Bouwer storms to silver in 100 freestyle final

By Mark Etheridge in London

Charl Bouwer blitzed to his second medal of the Paralympics here on Sunday night, snatching silver in the S13 100-metre freestyle event.

It was Bouwer’s second medal of the Games after he won gold in the 50m dash on Saturday night. And it took a world and Paralympic record of 51.91sec from Belarus rival Ihar Boki to deny Bouwer who ended a second adrift in 52.97 in an African record.

But if anything, Bouwer was a little disappointed with his silver medal. “I think I should have had gold tonight but I made a few mistakes in the first 50 metres,” he said.

“My ex-coach Ebert Kleynhans told me this morning that I mustn’t let Boki turn before me and then I saw him when I tumbled and knew it was going to be tough.

“The problem was that I was scared to go out too fast but then I over-compensated and had too much to do.”

His results thus far at the Games have also seen a shift in Bouwer’s mindset. “Normally I would say tonight’s event was my favourite but after winning the 50m that’s my best… in future any race I win gold in will be my favourite,” he grinned.

Bouwer’s next race will be the 100m backstroke where he’ll again face Boki. “He’s tough to beat,” admitted Bouwer. “He’s quite new to the sport, since about 2010, he’s only 18 and Belarus have done well to get him to where he is.”

And Bouwer admits that the strain of being entered into six races is not an easy thing to bear. “It’s exhausting having to swim heats and finals for five days and it gets to you because its not your normal routine.”

But if the medals keep on rolling in for the giant (2.03m tall) Stellenbosch swimmer you can bet he’s not going to complain about being tired for too much longer…


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