Running pair gear up for UK

2017-07-05 06:02
The record breaking middle distance blind runner Louzanne Coetzee with her guide runner Khothatso Mokone. Photo: Supplied

The record breaking middle distance blind runner Louzanne Coetzee with her guide runner Khothatso Mokone. Photo: Supplied

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All conquering middle-distance blind track athlete Louzanne Coetzee and her guide, Khothatso Mokone, are gearing up for another international competition in London.

The pair will be in action at this year’s World Athletics Championship for Athletes with Physical Disabilities and Visual Impairment in London from 14 July to 22 July.

Rufus Botha, the pair’s mentor, says Coetzee will compete in the 1 500 m and 800 m in the T-11 disability classification (for completely blind athletes).

“There is unfortunately not a 5 000 m event on the programme, which is her favourite event. So we are working much more on her speed and speed endurance to be seriously competitive,” says Botha.

The vastly experienced trainer says preparations are on track for the forthcoming international competition.

“We are blessed with no hiccups so far in our planned sessions. As a matter of fact, they are meeting target times and are even faster now. The way it looks now, I have no doubt that Louzanne will improve her personal best times in both the 1 500 m and 800 m in London. Although the competition is tough, I also believe they will reach the final of the 1 500 m.

“It’s going to be a chase for the podium in the final,” says Botha.

Although the 800 m is not Coetzee’s strongest event, Botha believes the runner will be up to the task.

“Her fitness level is good. If they reach the final in the 800 m, it will be a great bonus.”

Coetzee, with Mokone, also a middle distance and road runner, will be heading to London, hoping to continue the feat of adding to their history book by breaking records in competitions.

In June, Coetzee broke her T11 5 000 m world record by nearly 22,96 seconds at the Para-Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil. Her superb performance meant she broke her previous record. This was the first time the blind runner had broken a record outside South Africa.

This achievement by the talented athlete saw her set a new bench mark in Switzerland by winning the 5 000 m in 18:14.27.

Louzanne’s achievement in June followed another milestone in breaking the world record in this distance during the Nedbank National Paralympic Championship in Port Elizabeth in April this year.

In 2016, she was also part of the South African team at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and the world record holder in the 5 000 m race.

She is also the current African champion in the 1 500 m race.

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