Making a splash with a haul of gold

By Time of article published Jul 8, 2011

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Regina Graham

FOR most 23-year-olds, winning two gold medals would be a big accomplishment.

But for Cape Town swimmer Valentino Vergotine, it’s two more medals he can add to his collection of 280.

“I have won them all from swimming in different kinds of national and international races over the years,” Vergotine said at his home in Ravensmead yesterday.

Vergotine, who is mentally impaired, is among the 80 South African athletes who have returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, with a shared haul of 71 medals.

Other Capetonians who competed include Beverley-Ann Abrahams, Nelson Bass, Tania Brink, Betty-Lou Miller, and Annaline Groenewald.

Vergotine won a silver and a gold medal in the 2007 games in China.

This year, he is ecstatic to have won two gold medals, in the 400-metre and 100m freestyle.

“This year was my first time swimming under five minutes in my 400m race and I am really happy about that,” Vergotine said.

He spends four hours a day, six days a week training at the University of the Western Cape.

He learnt to swim in 2002 and in 2005 swam in his first international race. He has problems reading and writing.

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