Louzanne Coetzee applied the finishing touches to Team SA’s campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics when she surged to the bronze medal in the women’s marathon (T12) on a cool and overcast morning in the Japanese capital.
The 28-year-old from Bloemfontein, was born blind but has shown incredible spirit and tenacity to rise to become one of the best athletes in her class in the Paralympics.
President of South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Barry Hendricks, said he was delighted that Coetzee had been selected to carry the country’s flag at the closing ceremony. “Louzanne Coetzee is an inspiration, not only on the track and road, but off it as well,” said Hendricks.
“We were lying fifth for a long time, and I never really thought about needing to move up to third, but then when we were in third, I started to think for the first time that it (a medal) could be a reality,” said Coetzee. Team SA’s medallists in Tokyo were Ntando Mahlangu (two golds), Pieter du Preez (gold), Anrune Weyers (gold), Coetzee (silver and bronze) and Sheryl James (bronze).