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Paralympian Van der Merwe ends local career on a high
- Updated: March 29, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Veteran Paralympian athlete Fanie van der Merwe’s track adventure came full circle as he competed at his final Nedbank National Championships for the Disabled in Bloemfontein last week.
The inspirational athlete who is already ploughing back his extensive knowledge garnered over two Paralympics, is a three-time gold medal winner at the sport’s highest level – twice in Beijing (100 and 200m in the T37 category) and once in London (100m).
The 100m dash will be Van der Merwe’s only event at the Rio Paralympics this year, meaning he can maintain 100% focus on that race. He won that event in Bloemfontein last week with a time of 11.71 seconds, a Paralympic qualifying time.
Bloemfontein was the venue where the former Free Stater started out his illustrious career 10 years ago.
‘It was a privilege to be able to end my SA Champs career in Bloemfontein where it all started,’ he told Road to Rio. ‘When I look back at my journey I feel honoured to have had the experiences I had and to be able to make friends and family and have grown closer to the Lord and see His Father heart.
‘I’m looking forward to the rest of my road to Rio, it’s such a privilege to have one last opportunity to give it everything I have, no matter the outcome.
‘I’m extremely blessed, and I am looking forward to coach and mentor for athletes through the Inspired2Become programme and take hands with others in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.’
Picture of Van der Merwe in action last week courtesy of Martin Potgieter, Bonzai Photography.