Two University of Johannesburg (UJ) Paralympic students, Sheldon Thomas and Christiaan Schultz, are preparing for the upcoming National Athletics Championships in Bloemfontein this year. While most students are focused only on registering for the academic year 2018, Thomas and Schultz have commenced with their sporting training.
Thomas won the 'Most Promising Athlete of the Year' award at the 2017 Gauteng Sport Awards. He is part of UJ's Sports for Students with Disabilities (SSD) club, coached by Mrs Leanne Bruwer.
Schultz, a Journalism student at UJ, broke the African Record in the 400m sprint at the 2016 Athletics National Championships. He is a visually impaired athlete born with a rare eye condition called coats disease. Although selected to represent Team South Africa at the 2017 World Championships in London, United Kingdom, Schultz could not make the trip due to financial constraints.
In anticipation of the upcoming Championships in Bloemfontein, Schultz hopes to achieve international qualifying times. With the support of the athlete management and good facilities at UJ, Schultz says he is confident that he will be included in the 2019 World Championships ( to be held in Doha, Qatar) and 2020 Paralympics (to be held in Tokyo, Japan) South African teams.
The two students perform under the tutelage of UJ Sport coaches.