GEORGE, August 27 (ANA) – Disabled wheelchair athlete Johan Koen is set on riding his fourth full marathon at the Outeniqua Cycle Challenge in George, Eastern Cape, on Saturday, September 14…

Thirty years ago, three days before his 17th birthday, Koen was involved in a motorcycle accident, breaking his neck and spending five months in hospital in Pretoria.

He had been a keen athlete, taking part in the various middle-distance events as well as several half-marathons. After the accident, he did not participate much in sport apart from the occasional outing in his wheelchair and gym session.

It was not until he relocated to Riversdale in 2015 that he first laid eyes on a handcycle and his passion for the sport was born and to date, he has logged over 7 000 km.

From 2015 to 2017, he competed in a chair donated by a charity organisation

The late Fanie Joubert bought him a new chair in 2017, something he will always be grateful for.

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Koen completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour the following year, albeit with assistance from his fellow cyclists after he broke a chain 8km from the finish.

His latest accomplishment was a ninth-place finish at this year’s Cango 42 km Marathon.

Should his health permit it, Koen now hopes to enter his fourth full marathon at the Outeniqua Cycle Challenge.

He is grateful to the support received from Baleia Wines which has enabled him to compete until now.

However, he is currently raising funds and also looking for a sponsor for better equipment so that he can take his performances to the next level.

Pursuing his artistic talents

Away from cycling, Koen started painting in 2018 and is determined to continue improving his skills. With his positive attitude and a ready smile, there is no doubt he will accomplish all these goals.

The Outeniqua Cycle Challenge is unique and is the first and only event exclusively for the disabled in South Africa.

Athletes in racing wheelchairs, adapted bicycles, handcycles, basketball chairs and ordinary wheelchairs have made this into the premier sporting event for the disabled on the South African sporting calendar.

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Author: ANA Newswire