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The Belgian Paralympic sprinter, who won gold on the first day of ... (Herentals)

The Belgian Paralympic sprinter, who won gold on the first day of … (Herentals)

Dirk Boone won the gold medal in Athens in 2004. © if

Begijnendijk / Herentals

On the day the Paralympic Games began in Tokyo, one of the Herentals gold medalists died. Dirk Bohn, 54, of Begenindijk, crashed last week during a ride with his tricycle in Herentals. He ended up in a coma from which he would never wake up. In 2004, Dirk Boone won a gold medal in Athens in the time trial cycling.

Guido Jovartes

Earlier this week, Dirk’s mother, Annie Verbruggen, told me he was still in a coma. “His condition hasn’t changed. We know things aren’t going to work out for Dirk. Doctors diagnosed a cerebral hemorrhage. But whether he had it from a fall or he had fallen from a brain haemorrhage, they couldn’t make up his mind,” she told us at the time. He died on August 24, at the start of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

great hero

“Our municipality is losing a great champion with Dirk,” said Willie Michaels, who, as a councilman for sports, was awarded the City Council Gold Paralympic Award in 2004. “This Paralympic title was a highlight of Dirk. But he also won the European title. Three times and in 2002 he also became the world champion. I think he also became an eight-time Belgian champion with his tricycle. Even Alphonse van de Velde of Ramsel made a special bike for riding in Athens.”

Daily in the ring

After the euphoria with his Olympic gold medal, disappointment came when Dirk was not selected for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He took seriously the way he was being ignored. But Dirk kept cycling. Almost every day he would go out with his tricycle and get noticed while riding 70 to 80 kilometers. “I get averages close to thirty an hour. Let them copy that.

He will be missed by many on our roads in Hagland and Zweiderkempen.

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