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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

SARChI Chair on disease resistance and quality in field crops awarded in UFS Department of Plant Science
2016-02-01

Description: SARChI Chair  Tags: SARChI Chair

Prof Labuschagne

A South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) chair has been awarded in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS). The chair will be headed by Prof Maryke Labuschagne, and will focus on crop quality breeding and disease resistance in field crops.

The disease resistance research by the chair will be headed by Prof Zakkie Pretorius. The disease resistance breeding will be a continuation of the internationally-acclaimed wheat rust research that Prof Pretorius has been conducting during his career.

The quality breeding will focus on crop protein quantity and quality as well as on iron, zinc, and beta carotene biofortification of staple crops such as wheat, maize, and cassava.

Prof Labuschagne believes that food security is one of the key factors for stability and prosperity on the continent. Her research and that of her students focuses on the genetic improvement of food security crops in Africa, including such staples as maize and cassava. “These crops are genetically improved for yield, drought tolerance, disease, and insect resistance, as well nutritional value,” she said.

Last year, one of  Prof Labuschagne’s PhD students, Bright Peprah, received an award for $473 000 from the competitive Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders (PEARL) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for his project on improving the beta-carotene content in cassava.

Prof Labuschagne also received the prestigious ‘Continental Lifetime Achiever Award’ from Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Programme (MIW) last year for her commitment and continuous contributions to food security. She is an NRF-rated researcher, and author or co-author of over 160 articles in accredited journals.

Research Chairs have been designed by the Department of Science and Technology, together with the National Research Foundation, to attract and retain excellence in research and innovation at South African public universities. 

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