The twenty-two year old Louzanne Coetzee from Bloemfontein has smashed the 5000m T11 world record by nearly 50 seconds during the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in the City of Roses.
The blind athlete shaved 48.75 seconds off the previous mark set by Lithuania’s, Sigita Markeviciene, 16-years ago in a record time of 20:05.81 at the Paralympics in Sydney, Australia.
On day three of the competition, Coetzee set the new mark at 19:17.06, thus officially becoming the first woman to break the twenty minute barrier over the distance.
Nearly two weeks ago at the Free State Championships, also held at the Mangaung Athletics Stadium, Coetzee ran 30.92 seconds faster that Markevisience’s time, however, with the event not an official IPC event, the record was not recorded.
Coetzee told Courant that the new world record hadn’t sunk in yet and she couldn’t have achieved it without the motivation of her guide, Khotahtso Mokone.
“I don’t think the fact that I have broken the record has set in yet, it feels so unreal at this point and I’m sure when I have a moment to myself I will be able to take it in,” Coetzee said about her incredible feat.
“I started the race very strong and could feel we were setting a good pace. There were a couple of moments I felt the fatigue setting in, but Khotahtso (Mokone) made sure we never slowed down.
“He helped me so much with his motivation.
“I can honestly say that was the best race of my life and I am so thankful I could share it with everyone especially my guide.”
On Monday night Coetzee set a new African record in the 1500m when she shaved 8.77 seconds of the previous record to set the new mark at 5:18.44.
– MORGAN PIEK