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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

A guide and a friend
2016-12-12

Description:Khothatso Mokone  Tags: Khothatso Mokone  longdesc=

Louzanne Coetzee and Khothatso Mokone.
Photo: Charl Devenish

Behind every successful Paralympic athlete is a guide, and behind blind athlete Louzanne Coetzee is none other than former Kovsie student Khothatso Mokone.

Mokone, who is a sports journalist and freelance photographer, says he is not entirely sure that his busy schedule is very balanced, but he tries to ensure he squeezes as much as possible into his day. One thing he always makes time for is his training. “As a young person, I try to take every opportunity that comes my way,” he says.

This young runner, who has been Coetzee’s guide for the past eight months, says that every race they have run together thus far has always been better than the last. “The partnership grows harmoniously every day. We talk about almost everything there is, not only running,” Mokone says.

Mokone guided Coetzee in the 1 500m of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September this year when she was disqualified. 

Mokone, who loves comedy and Dubai, is inspired by SAfm journalist and presenter Ashraf Garda. “He talks a lot about current issues that affect our country and I like his style of presenting. He is a good orator.”

Something people may not know about him is that he always walks around hopeful that the best is yet to come. “When I walk down the street, I walk with confidence and people think I have made it in life not knowing that I only have hope for a better tomorrow,” he says.

Although he is not yet as successful as he would like to be, Mokone encourages the youth to “open their eyes and ears to set realistic goals and work with patience to achieve each goal, whether short or long term”.

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