An unbelievably challenging 902km of cycling, swimming, running and canoeing was successfully achieved this week, ending on the 17th February 2018, by legendary deaf athlete and Olympic medalist, Terence Parkin.
Currently the most celebrated Deaflympic athlete worldwide, Parkin, 37, completed this incredible test of strength and stamina between Johannesburg and Durban all in support of fund raising for the Deaf Children’s Learn to Swim and Water Safety Programme.
His natural talent as a swimmer combined with his passionate advocacy for young deaf athletes in our country recently saw the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation honor him as their Global Brand Ambassador for the Deaf and Blind. Working closely with Olympic Swimmer and CEO of the Foundation, Ryk Neethling, Parkin uses his role to travel the world sharing the strong message of the vital importance of water safety issues and the importance of being able to swim.
Whilst statistics are difficult to determine with accuracy in South Africa, it is estimated cur-rently that 6 children (under the age of 15) drown every day. Parkin is committed to changing this statistic with the incredible support of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
The Princess Charlene of Monaco was herself a swimmer on South Africa’s National Team with Parkin and shared the following about him: “Terence is an incredible athlete who has shown dedication and passion for his sport and has never allowed any obsta-cles to stand in his way on his path to achieve success. We are proud of the amazing work he does for the Foundation in support of water safety and drowning prevention”
Parkin made this challenge one to remember by making it as punishing for himself as possible. Cycling for 5 days across 723 km on both a mountain and road bike on steep terrain through the Sani Pass, he then swam a further 13km at the Midmar Mile as part of the Eight Mile Club (where he won both of his events and broke further records) followed by the completion of a 33km run to the start of the Dusi Canoe Marathon. Parkin pushed himself extremely hard across challenging terrain which included both tar and sand roads and incredibly steep inclines. When the last 15km proved extremely tough he was encouraged by his support team. He said “My support team were amazing, they left the vehicle to run alongside me and a few of the local children even joined in. It’s an honor to perform a challenge such as this in our country with its beautiful landscapes.”
This past Saturday witnessed the final end of his challenge with a 124km, 3-day Dusi Canoe Marathon with veteran canoeist, Mark Mulder, whom he met for the first time a few days ago.
Focused on achieving his fundraising goal of R100 000 for the Foundation, 33-time Deaflympics medal winner Parkin, said “I want to help children in SA to reach their full potential. Swimming has been an incredibly positive influence in my life, physically, emo-tionally and personally and I want children with hearing difficulties and other challenges to share in my experience.”
Ryk Neethling, fellow Olympian and CEO of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Founda-tion South Africa, shared his 100% support of Parkin; “Terence is known as one of the world’s toughest athletes. He is paving the way for youngsters across South Africa to live their dreams, no matter what the odds are.”