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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

Bright young mind shines
2016-12-12

Description:Candice Thikeson  Tags: Bowls  longdesc=


Candice Thikeson, a Master’s
student in Arts History and
Image Studies at the University
of the Free State.
Photo: Anja Aucamp

“I was once told that I looked ‘immaculate’, as always. We use the word ‘immaculate’ to describe the Virgin Mary, does it get better than that?”

To everyone else, she may be a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, Bright Young Mind and Abe Bailey Travel Bursary candidate, but there is more to this beauty that meets the eye.

Relating to women in the humanities field

Candice Thikeson, who is currently a Master’s student in Art History and Image Studies, says “I have a very strong spiritual foundation and my relationship with God really fuels everything I do. I also think being intentional about building great relationships with your family and friends is imperative.”

She says she has been inspired by different people at different stages of her life and draws a great deal from academics, creatives and activists. She relates best to women who are in the humanities and draws inspiration from the likes of Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Kenya-born, Somalian poet Warsan Shire.

“I love how they are able to comment on some of the most pressing issues black women face through beautiful and poignant writing. I also admire how frank these women are, something I’m still learning to be,” Thikeson says.

Pursue something you are genuinely interested in

The biggest misconception people have of her is that she studies art and she is working towards becoming an artist. “Fine art and art history is not the same thing. I don’t paint or make art at university, and I really don’t enjoy being called an artist.”

When asked about how she has become so successful at such a young age, she reiterated the cliché: “pursue something you are genuinely interested in and passionate about”. She adds, “if you are really good at what you do, your gift will make room for you in your field”.

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