Cameron the modest gold medallist

2012-08-04 19:57

Life is not all about swimming for one of South Africa’s Olympic champions, Cameron van der Burgh.

“I’m just a regular guy,” the 24-year-old told City Press a few hours after snatching a gold medal with a 58.46 world record performance in the 100m breaststroke.

“I really enjoy football. Unfortunately, I support Arsenal, which breaks my heart sometimes.

“But being here in London will afford me a chance to visit the stadium (Emirates) and get a replica jersey.”

Van der Burgh’s favourite Gunners player is Holland international Robin van Persie, whom he said was one of the special people he’d like to invite for dinner.

The Pretoria-born lad said he would not let his status go to his head.

“After winning, I don’t feel I’m better or special; we just outperformed each other in the field and that’s about it.”

The Players Club swimmer, who is coached by former SA coach Dirk Lange, could not immediately say how he intended to spend his loot, especially with a big gift already awaiting him back home.

“I have been promised a cow (by a friend) and now it seems I’ll have to buy a bigger back yard to put the herd in,” he chuckled.

He said it might push him to follow the same path as his SA team-mate in London, 400m hurdler LJ van Zyl, who used his incentive to buy cattle.

For bringing home the gold, Van der Burgh becomes the first to stake a claim to the R6 million incentive pot put aside by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee for any Team SA Olympian or Paralympian medallist.

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