Louzanne Coetzee of South Africa takes silver in the women’s Paralympic 1 500m final

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On Monday, Louzanne Coetzee of South Africa made a spectacular effort to earn a Paralympic silver medal in the women’s T11 1 500m. Her time of 4min 40.96 seconds was a personal best and an African record for the 28-year-old, who was competing in her sixth major championship event since 2013.

After shaving nearly nine seconds off their qualifying time, she and her guide Erasmus Badenhorst placed second behind Mexico’s Monica Rodriguez Saavedra, who broke the world record to win the gold in 4:37.40.

Despite the heat and humidity, her timing was only 2.04 seconds slower than the previous world record established by China’s Jin Zheng in Rio in 2016 (which she broke).

She was disqualified from the Olympics after a judge found that her guide had put herself in front of her. A fourth-place finish at the 2017 World Championships was also erased on Monday.

“I can’t believe it,” Coetzee told the Team SA website after winning South Africa’s third medal at the 2021 Paralympics.

“I have been competing for eight years and this is my first medal. I’m just overwhelmed. I couldn’t have asked for a better race, a better guide, better preparation, I’m just very thankful for how everything went down.”