Swart to pin down London dream
TOOWOOMBA wrestler Deon Swart is only two international meets away from realising his dream and securing a berth on the Australian team for next year's London Olympics.
The Australian champion in the men's 60kg freestyle and Greco-Roman classes, Swart took on the best wrestlers from the Commonwealth countries in Melbourne in August, securing bronze in the Greco-Roman and finishing sixth in the freestyle.
But despite his performances, Swart's place on the Australian team to compete at the Olympics is far from settled. Swart must also compete at the Oceania Games and the Africa Games in January and March next year and needs to finish first or second at both events to earn his place in London.
A former South African who moved to the Downs on a working visa five years ago, Swart has been wrestling since the age of five.
But after relocating with his family, Swart walked away from the sport, believing Australia did not field international wrestling teams.
It was only after watching last year's Commonwealth Games that Swart realised he could compete for his adopted homeland on world sports' biggest stages.
While most people struggle to regain their competitive edge after time away from their sport, Swart was the opposite.
"It's like riding a bicycle. It's something I've been doing for 20 years," Swart said.
Now 32, Swart realises this is his final opportunity to compete at the Olympics, something he has always dreamed of doing.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to see if I can get to it," Swart said.
But competing internationally is not without its costs. Swart has to pay his own way to major qualifying meets in order to realise his Olympic dream. With trips to Samoa and Morocco looming, Swart knows his qualification could depend on getting to these events.
"My aim is to get a sponsor so I can go and train more."