Wittstock glad to be back

2011-02-12 00:00

“IT is so wonderful to be back in South Africa, especially in Pietermaritzburg, because it’s so close to my heart,” the future Princess of Monaco and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock told a breakfast function at St John’s Diocesan School for Girls yesterday.

The 33-year-old princess-to-be now lives in Monaco and will be tying the knot with Prince Albert II later this year.

“I miss South Africa’s warm weather and landscapes, and Durban is looking so good. I’m so impressed,” she said.

Wittstock is swimming her first aQuelle Midmar Mile race today to raise money for the Special Olympics, an international organisation that hosts games for more than 3 million people who are living with intellectual disabilities.

“I have lots of friends with disabilities and these people are special, but they don’t get the opportunities they deserve. We should not only support them emotionally but financially as well,” she said.

Wittstock has raised more than €60 000 (R593 000) so far for the organisation and said this is just the beginning as she is planning to continue making a difference for the underprivileged.

“I’m not in my Olympic condition. I’ve been training for four to five hours a week, but I’m not worried because I am not competing.

“ I’m just here to have a good time and to raise funds for charity.”

Wittstock also opened the newly renovated pool at the girls’ school.

Seventeen-year-old head girl Bianca Witting said: “It is an honour to have an accomplished swimmer to come open the pool for our school and this is the day we’ll always remember.”

“I really feel blessed to have this opportunity to give back to South Africa. It’s so rewarding,” Wittstock said.

She will be heading back to Monaco on Valentine’s Day.



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