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05 June 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer
Louzanne Coetzee
Athlete Louzanne Coetzee with the trophy of the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled as Sports Star of the Year.

Although challenging, very exciting and a new journey, says Louzanne Coetzee about the athletics year for which she has been recognised.

The 26-year-old, who is doing her master’s in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Studies at the University of the Free State, won the Free State Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (FSSAPD) Sports Star of the Year award for a fourth consecutive time. This was for the period June 2018 to April 2019.

In that time, she set a world record, an Africa record, and ran two marathons in which she came amazingly close to a second world record.

Only in her second marathon at the Berlin Marathon in September, the Paralympian fell 26 seconds short of the T11 (totally blind) world record time. She met the qualifying time for the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo during the London Marathon in April.

“Marathons are definitely challenging and a new field for me, but I would say it has been a good 12 months. My aim is now set on next year’s Paralympic Games, where I would like to compete in the marathon and the 1 500 m.”

“I hope to run a good time in the 1 500 m at the World Para Athletics Championships in November.”

At the SASAPD National Championships for physically disabled and visually impaired athletes in April 2019, Coetzee won three gold medals and set a record in the 1 500 m. 

Others from the UFS also honoured

Coetzee has received several awards in her career, but says it is always special to be rewarded by her own federation (FSSAPD). 

Danie Breitenbach (T11) was also honoured as the Senior Male Sports Star. He bagged two gold medals and one silver and set a SA record in both the 800 m and 1 500 m at the nationals. Another Kovsie, Dineo Mokhosoa (F36 – coordination impairments), received a merit award for her gold medal in shot-put and silver in the discus at the national champs.

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Increase in external research funding is proof of confidence in UFS
2014-12-09

The university’s sourcing of research funding from external organisations has received a significant boost this year. The growth in financing received from the National Research Foundation (NRF) alone increased from R24 million in 2013 to over R50 million in 2014.

“Because tertiary institutions can no longer survive on state subsidies alone, they are increasingly looking at alternative ways of supplementing their income. Income from these sources is utilised for various programmes and projects, with strong emphasis on research,” says Dr Glen Taylor, Senior Director: Research Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

A source which provided considerable income for the UFS was the presentation of short learning programmes. The growth in income for the learning programmes this year was more than 30% compared to the income in 2012. “Income from short learning programmes is used to support the core business of the UFS,” says Dr Taylor.

A number of major research contracts were entered into during the course of the year. The UFS, for example, serves as an agency for a research contract of USD$10.5 million awarded by the World Bank to the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC). The contract is managed by the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) and involves research on the management and formation of policies on underground water sources across boundaries.

Another substantial grant is the financing received from the Water Research Commission. The money is used to conduct research on the sustainable utilisation of water, as well as ways for the better utilisation thereof for the development of communities. The grant to the UFS for successful projects amounts to R5.5 million on average per year.

The UFS also has contracts with national and international partners. We conduct research of more than R30 million on the behalf of several mining companies, such as Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Exxaro and Goldfields Ltd. “Furthermore, we also have research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the USA, the European Union and several bilateral research agreements with countries such as Brazil, China and India, as well as contracts with Sasol and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC),” says Dr Taylor.

“We have tremendous interest from several companies wishing to finance the programmes, projects and intellectual property of the UFS, which is proof that our research is recognised and makes a difference,” he says.

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