Coetzee’s performance was the proverbial cherry on the cake as the 5000m in her disability category (T11) was the last event of day one of the championships. Although it turned out to be a lonely race for the two Bloemfontein long distance aces, it eventually changed into a fairy tale.
Only a handful of Coetzee’s friends and training partners realised after a couple of laps that she was heading for a world class performance. The meeting announcer was unaware of such as he was at the time busy with medal presentations. An official realised it and informed him with two laps to go that she was on her way to smash the world record.
This was when all the spectators, athletes and officials started spurring her on to shattering her own world record which stood at 19:17,06 since she became the first totally blind female athlete to ever run the 5000m under 20 minutes in March 2016.
Coetzee ran a blistering last two laps in PE in a race where gusty winds could not get the better of Coetzee and Mokone.
They stopped the clock at a magnificent 18:37.23 to obliterate her own World, African and South African record by close to 40 seconds.
With this time under her belt, Coetzee became the first blind female athlete ever to officially break the 20 minute and 19 minute barriers in the 5000m in the T11 category.
The closest athlete to officially come close to dipping below the 20 minutes was when Lithuania’s Sigita Markeviciene established the then world record at the Paralympics Games in Sydney, Australia, some 17 years ago.