We follow athlete and double Paralympic medalist Louzanne Coetzee as we find out how she went from a local hero to an international icon of endurance sport.

Louzanne’s life has been nothing short of extraordinary. Born with Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a hereditary condition, Louzanne has been visually impaired since birth. 

Raised by her parents however, to become a strong, independent and resolute woman, meant that she didn’t allow this to stop her from reaching her goals and becoming a local hero in her community. 

After high school, Louzanne went on to study a Bachelor of Arts degree in Integrated and Corporative Marketing Communications from the University of the Free State and it was during her time at the university that she discovered her love for running.

I discovered my love for running by accident by competing in a university track meet,” she explains.

Shortly afterwards, she met a coach that suggested she should try long distance running, and she hasn’t looked back since.

For athletics, Louzanne falls under the T11 disability class, the class for athletes with the highest level of visual impairment. 

Louzanne competed in the 2016 Summer Paralympics where she represented South Africa in the women’s 1500m however, she was unfortunately disqualified as her guide stepped in front of her. 

Despite the defeat, this did not stop Louzanne and the following year, she broke the women’s 500m world record for her disability class.

For her marathon training, Louzanne trains with her running guide Claus Kempen, and for her track training, she works with Estean Badenhorst.

“Running alongside someone is really a rewarding experience,” explains Louzanne, “it’s the only way I can run so it is really important to me.”

“The relationships you build are really meaningful and the trust you have to put in someone is really something else.”

In 2018, she competed at the Para Athletics event in Berlin where she competed in the 800m race, 1500m race and 5000m race. During the event, she set a new African record, taking home silver for the 800m race.

Last year, she competed in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and went home with a silver medal for the women’s 1500m. She broke a new African record.

Louzanne’s mission is that her story will now offer hope to any who need it, and it truly inspired us.

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