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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.

News Archive

UFS research could light up South African homes
2016-01-21

Reitumetse Maloa, postgraduate student and researcher at the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, is using her research to provide solutions to the energy crises in South Africa.

A young researcher at the university is searching for the solution to South Africa’s energy and electricity problems from a rather unlikely source: cow dung.

“Cow dung could help us power South Africa,” explains Reitumetse Maloa, postgraduate student and researcher at the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology.

Reitumetse’s research is trying to understand how the bacteria works that is responsible for producing biogas.

“Biogas can be used for cooking, heating, lighting and powering generators and turbines to make electricity. The remaining liquid effluent can fertilise crops, as it is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.”

By using cow dung and food waste to produce biogas, we will be able to lower greenhouse gases.

Biogas is produced in a digester - an oxygen-free space in which bacteria break down or digest organic material fed into the system. This process naturally produces biogas, which is mainly a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide.

“Many countries, such as Germany and the United States, have begun generating electricity from cow dung and food waste, through a process known as biogas production. In South Africa, a number of industries, including waste-water treatment facilities and farms, have caught on to this technology, using it to generate heat and to power machines.”

Until recently the world has relied heavily on electricity derived from fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. Once these fuels have been extracted from underground reservoirs, they are treated or cleaned, transported to power plants and transformed into the electricity that will reach your house. Fossil fuels are considered a ‘dirty’ energy source which gives off greenhouse gases when burned. Those gases are the major contributing factor to climate change.

“We know very little about the interaction of the bacteria inside the biogas digester. To use biogas as a sustainable fuel source, we need to understand and describe the bacteria population and growth dynamics inside the digester to produce biogas optimally. Currently we are testing a variety of feedstock, including bran, maize and molasses, for biogas production potential, as well as optimising the conditions leading to maximum biogas production. We are also exploring the potential to use the effluent as fertiliser on local farms. The ultimate goal is to have biogas systems that will supply our university with clean energy.”


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