On Boxing Day 1984, Niel Louw was caught in a freak electrical accident that changed his life forever. He, his brother and a friend were towing a catamaran yacht towards a lake in the Southern Cape of their native South Africa when its mast touched an overhead powerline. Instantly 11,000 volts surged through their bodies.
Niel said: “Medically speaking, it was an absolute miracle that we survived."
The accident meant 16-year-old Niel had his left arm amputated below the shoulder and saw him in great pain for months afterwards. Having been a keen athlete and rugby and tennis player, his promising sporting career looked in doubt. Already a Christian, Niel then discovered how God would use this seemingly bleak situation for great good.
Less than eight years after the accident, he was competing as a sprinter at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympics. Niel went on to win two Paralympic bronze medals and much more during a successful career. Having sought to share his faith in Jesus wherever and with whoever he could as an athlete, retirement from the track has seen Niel move into full-time Christian work. He now helps lead a ministry which is focussed on bringing the good news of Jesus to the world of disability sport.
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