A young man and amputee, Caleb Swanepoel from Prince Albert in the Western Cape, was awarded first prize at the Great Optimist race that took place during the annual Cape Town Boat Show on Sunday.

In 2015, Swanepoel lost his leg in an unfortunate shark attack while body-surfing in Buffels Bay near Knysna, but his love for sporting activities has continued to shine through. Swanepoel continues to take part in sporting competitions, such as the South African Short Course National Champions in Kwa-Zulu Natal earlier this year.

The young man proves that nothing can hold him back from pushing the boundaries and achieving his dreams.

With his dreams set high, the athlete was crowned the winner of the Great Optimist Race as he outsailed 40 other competitors to win the race.

The Great Optimist Race host, Greg Bertish, told IOL about the core message of the race and shared his views on Swanepoel’s win.

“Isn’t it perfect. That’s what the Great Optimist Race was all about spreading the message that there is always hope for people who’ve experienced tragedy or beaten the odds to survive,” Bertish said.

The Great Optimist Race is hosted by the Little Optimist Trust and is an event that aims to raise funds for the organisation and increase awareness for other charities that need assistance and ill children.

All sponsors and donated ‘Optimist boats’ will be used to teach children in need how to sail through the Little Optimist Sailing Academy.

Other participants of the race included individuals who have beaten the odds to survive such as double lung transplant patient Tanya Bothma and cancer survivor Conn Bertish.

South African survivors

The race welcomed South African celebrities such as Arno Carstens, Josie Borain and more.

Picture: Facebook/ The Great Optimist Race

 

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.