Ep. 11 - Niel Louw: South African Paralympian | Running amidst adversity
Ep. 11 - Niel Louw: South African Paralympian | Running amidst adversity

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.

Listen to the podcast as Niel talks about

  • The freak accident that should have killed him (2mins 20secs)
  • The great opportunity God gave him as a disabled athlete (5.10)
  • Winning his first Paralympic medal in the 200m final at Barcelona 1992 (9.40)
  • Finally beating his rival, the world-record holding Nigerian sprinter Adeoye Ajibola (11.55)
  • Having his hopes of victory at Sydney 2000 ended by a hamstring tear (14.00)
  • Sharing his faith in Jesus as an athlete (17.15)
  • The importance of church in his life (20.38)
  • The vision of his all ability ministry (21.50)
  • How disability sport has changed since he first competed (24.40)
  • Helping disabled athletes share their faith (26.00)
  • His inspiring motto (28.50)

And much more…

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