Sheryl James (left) with International classifier for disabled athletes Louisa Kirsten at the Coetzenburg Stadium in Stellenbosch. Louisa works at the Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital. Photo supplied.
Date: 05 April 2019 By:
Para-athlete Sheryl James from Louis Trichardt added a record and more gold medals to her name, this time during the SASAPD (South African Sport for Physically Disabled) national championships.
The championships were held in Stellenbosch from 17 to 20 March, with Sheryl representing Gauteng Province as a category T37 athlete (for people who have coordination impairments) in the women’s open events.
Sheryl dashed to gold and a new women's open T37 South African record in the 100m sprint, with a time of 0:14.20. She also took gold in the both the 200m (0:28.81) and the 400m track events, with a personal best of 1:06.83 in the 400m.
Sheryl was also asked to team up with three other South African athletes in a mixed relay against Namibia, where South Africa were the victors. The relay race included a visually impaired athlete, a cerebral palsied athlete, a double amputee and a wheelchair athlete. It was an amazing race to watch.
The exciting news is that Sheryl's times for the 100m and the 400m are qualifying times for the World Paralympic Games in Dubai in November this year, as well as qualifying times for the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020. She hopes to run a qualifying time in the 200 m in Sao Paulo (Brazil) at the end of April when she will be participating in one of the nine Para-athletic Grand Prix events that are held annually in various countries across the world.
Sheryl is extremely thankful for all the support and encouragement she has received from so many people, and particularly would like to mention her coach Gideon Joubert and her physiotherapist Elmien van der Goot in this regard, as well as Louisa Kirsten, international classifier who works at Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital.
Sheryl recently gave a motivational talk at a local school where she shared her journey of faith and challenges, explaining that she finds herself inspired by the many differently abled athletes she is coming into contact with, who have serious challenges that they overcome with a spirit of enthusiasm and courage. She remains grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for enabling her to be part of this exciting journey.