Breaking the boundaries of cerebral palsy, farmer and 400 metre runner Sheryl James won bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics. 

Sheryl Denise James captured the attention of South Africans earlier this year when she won a bronze medal for the 400m during her Paralympic debut. 

We discover that the Limpopo-based athlete took up the sport in 2018 at age 32, after joining a sports club with able-bodied and athletes with impairments. There she was encouraged to start sprint training and through pure determination she went on to slay goal after goal with the help of her coach Gideon Joubert.

Sheryl’s impairment classification is T 37 as she was born with cerebral palsy and has hemiplegia with impaired muscle functionality on the right side of her body.

“The classification basically means that I’ve suffered from some sort of a stroke, and there is an injury or a scar on the brain which has an effect on my nervous system that causes coordination problems, imbalance and spasticity,” explains the runner.

That said, like the rest of our paralympians Sheryl isn’t her disability, she simply lives with one, and is a champion at getting that across.

We fired a few questions to her in keeping with our ethos for the show – sustainable living. Keep reading for her replies. 


How are you aspiring to live better?

Having good character, being healthy, living to my full potential and being a blessing to others.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

To have created opportunities for others to reach their full potential in all areas of life.

What 2 valuable lessons / pieces of advice would you like to share with South Africa?

Just keep on keeping on (never give up), and value the people that are part of your life.

Where do you go to escape and connect with yourself?

Into the mountains.

Do you have an encouraging quote for us, to end off on?

Just be real.

Are there any last comments / thoughts you’d like to add?

No matter the storms you may face, there is a way through it, hold on because as sure as the sun rises in the morning, so will the storm come to an end and you will find peace.