World record holder and Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Charl Bouwer sees this weekend’s Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled, presented by SASAPD, as more than just another event to compete.
Stellenbosch based Bouwer sees it as an ideal opportunity to try and replace a prized possession that was taken from him a few weeks back. Thieves broke into his parents’ home in Kimberley and stole his Paralympic gold medal as they cleaned out the house.
A frantic search and articles on the Road to London 2012 website and in several newspapers ensued, but to date the medal hasn’t been found or returned.
Now, with London 2012 looming, Bouwer is upping his game to ensure that he at least comes home with a new medal from the Nedbank champs and sets himself on course for another one in London later this year.
ÔÇ£My medal was locked in a safe in the house and the thieves ripped the safe out the wall when they stole everything,ÔÇØ┬á Bouwer explains, ÔÇ£We tried to find it again through the newspapers but it hasn’t been returned yet.
ÔÇ£I don’t think I realised the real value of that medal until it was gone. It really means a lot to me, it was my first Paralympic medal, and it was a gold one as well where I broke the world record in the process, so it had a lot of sentimental value to me.ÔÇØ
Bouwer now is eyeing the next few months to try and at least ensure he has another gold medal to replace the stolen one.
ÔÇ£It definitely gives me a lot of motivation to do my best at the Nedbank Champs, and further on at the Paralympics. I’ve made it my aim now to ensure I get another gold.ÔÇØ
Bouwer may just do more than that in Durban. He will compete in the 100-metre freestyle, as well as the 400m freestyle (where is world record holder), 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley in his stay in the coastal city.
The championships takes place in various centres across Durban and ends on Wednesday.