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Gerber’s Games bid

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Thursday December 8, 2011

Karina Gerber is a woman prepared to give up nearly everything important to her in her quest to sort out some unfinished Olympic business.

For that reason she resigned from her job in order to give herself more time to train and possibly qualify for next year’s Olympic Games in London.

Beeld newspaper and regular Road to London 2012 contributor Wilhelm de Swardt says that Gerber was the first South African woman to represent the country in Modern Pentathlon – a discipline made up of five events: pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, running and horse-riding.

Sadly things didn’t go according to plan for the Stellenbosch based athlete. “I wanted to qualify for the 2004 Games in Athens but couldn’t. I was simply too deep in debt. My competing in the 2000 Games set me back more than R60 000 and I had to work to get rid of the debt.

“So I gave up competing and went to work on a cattle farm in the United States. I genuinely tried to make peace with the fact that my taking part in the Games was something of the past but before I knew it I’d gone and bought a pistol! I owed it to myself to try and compete at one more Games and before I knew it I was back training full-out.

“At the end of 2007 I was back on track again and was stronger and brighter and was capable of getting a qualifying score easily. I have no doubt that I could have qualified for the 2008 Games but but fate had it in for me. Early in 2008 just before I was going overseas to try and qualify I fell off my bike and tore the cruciate ligaments in my knee. That was that and my Olympic chances were gone.”

When Gerber was asked why, at 34, she’s prepared to sacrifice all a third time in the quest to try and qualify a third time, she had this to say: “The Games will always haunt me if I don’t make one last big chance to try and qualify as this is really my last chance.”

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