Former SA athlete Dalene Swanepoel dies

Dalene Swanepoel, gold medal winner in the javelin at the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, died on June 2 2007 at the age of 76.

Swanepoel had the unique distinction of placing first, second and third at the two Commonwealth meetings she attended.

She nearly repeated her victory at the Cardiff Games four years later when she led the competition until the final round when Australia’s Polish-born Anna Pazera produced a world-record to snatch victory from the South African.

Swanepoel also added a bronze medal to her collection in the shot put in 1954.

During her successful career the late Swanepoel, who had represented Northern Transvaal for many years, won 13 national titles.

She won the first of her eight SA javelin gold medals at Queenstown in 1949 and the last in 1963. She also won the shot-put crown five times between 1953 and 1958.

Her name also featured in the Commonwealth record book while her victory throw in Vancouver was also a Games record. She also boasted six South African javelin and 10 South African shot-put records.

Her career bests were 49,28m (old javelin) and 13,53m (shot).

Magdalena Catherina Swanepoel was born at Hopetown on November 7 1930.

She spent the greatest part of her life in Pretoria where she was a lecturer at the former NKP (Pretoria Normal College) and also excelled as a coach.

John Short, well-known coach and former national athlete, described her as a loyal and dedicated athlete, and a wonderful example for many young athletes.—Sapa

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