Deon Swart is one step away from the London Olympics.
Deon Swart is one step away from the London Olympics. Kevin Farmer

Swart faces Olympic decision

DARLING Downs wrestler Deon Swart faces a tough decision as he moves just one step away from realising his Olympic dream.

Swart needs to finish in the top two in the 60kg Greco-Roman division at March's African qualifiers to cement his place in the Australian team for this year's London Olympics after winning his class at the Oceania Games in Sydney on Saturday.

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The equation seems simple enough for the Meringandan resident - finish top two in Morocco in March and calling yourself an Olympian is a mere formality.

But it is what it takes to improve his chances of success at the African qualifiers which has left Swart with a difficult decision.

The former South African, who moved to Toowoomba seven years ago before relocating to Meringandan, has been told training in Melbourne for the next six weeks ahead of the event would give him the best chance of qualifying for London.

The majority of the Australian wrestling squad is based in Melbourne so the quality of training partners would be much better.

But Swart, a boilermaker, needs to take time off work and will then face the challenge of paying for living expenses while down there.

This has him contemplating a permanent move to Melbourne to train and work if he is unable to secure financial backing.

Attracting sponsorship would enable him and his family to remain on the Darling Downs long-term.

"They have much better wrestlers in Melbourne. They want me to go down there to train before the African Games," Swart said.

"I have to make the decision now - give up my life here and move to Melbourne or possibly miss the team. I am definitely going but I just have to get sponsors.

"My heart is in Toowoomba but if I can't do anything this week, I may have to find work down there."


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