KovsieSport Awards: Louzanne Coetzee inspires stars to keep on rising

“With the certainty of tides, we can rise into a daybreak that is wondrously clear.” 

“We will rise. Let us all help make our world, your world, our South Africa, the best it can be, regardless of where you are. Be brave, rise!”

With these words, Louzanne Coetzee inspired sports stars of the University of the Free State (UFS) to keep on excelling.
The UFS athlete, who won silver and bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in 2021, was the guest speaker at a KovsieSport Awards function on 17 May 2022.

Coetzee captured the essence of the event, which was to honour the brave for their achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UFS recognised sportsmen and sportswomen who have managed to continue participating on international level from 2019 to 2021.

The current and former Kovsies honoured were Khanyisa Chawane, Bianca de Wee, Sne Mdletshe, Refiloe Nketsa, Lefébre Rademan, Rolene Streutker, Chanel Vrey (all netball), and Robert Summers (badminton).

Innovative during lockdown

Chawane, Mdletshe, Nketsa, and Rademan represented the South African netball team. Mdletshe and Nketsa became the 19th and 20th UFS players to become Proteas.

De Wee, Streutker, and Vrey played for the South African U21 team, while Summers represented South Africa at the All-Africa Championships in Uganda.

Coetzee says it is important to celebrate these achievements, as many things went unnoticed during the pandemic, and the KovsieSport athletes were resilient.

She and her guides, Claus Kempen and Estean Badenhorst, also received a special award for their Paralympic achievements.

DB Prinsloo, former Director of KovsieSport, is immensely proud of the students, their coaches, and sport managers, as they had to be innovative by using online platforms to train and remain committed during lockdown.

“The performances show we are not standing still. It shows we can do other things to continue and still practise sport and perform.”

Striving for more

Chawane says honouring athletes at such an event gives them energy and makes them want to strive for more.

“Louzanne said we usually can’t applaud a fish for swimming, but you actually need to give the fish something to continue doing what it does,” she says.

“This is exactly it: acknowledging and appreciating athletes who are doing well.”

De Wee concurs, and says it makes the early morning sessions and hard work worthwhile.

“We feel very special that the university made the time to honour us for our achievements.” 

“It is something we take forward and we know the university is behind us in everything we do.

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