Fanie Van Der Merwe

Fanie Van Der Merwe
Paralympics

In high school, I made Christian commitments but I never really understood the relationship with the Lord. I had opportunities to give my life to the Lord but I was never sure. Someone said to me that is where faith comes in: “Do it, believe and never doubt again.” But I still struggled to understand the relationship.

When I look at life now, I have tasted the goodness of the Lord. I know that what the world offers does not compare with what Jesus has for me. To know Jesus is everlasting, and it is a growing experience where it's about knowing Him more and more. Knowing Him is the ultimate journey to eternal life.

In school, I was in mainstream school and competed in sport against able-bodied students. I never saw myself as disabled, but I knew there was something wrong with me and that I would be better without whatever I had. When I started my athletics career, I knew that was part of the Lord’s plan for me.

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 20:7: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” That reminds me that it is the Lord who brings the victory, not what I have.

Fanie van der Merwe won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters in the Beijing Paralympics in the T37 classification for South Africa. He will represent South Africa again in London. Born with cerebral palsy, Fanie and brother Chris run a Christian non-profit called Inspired 2 Become, focusing on alternative action sports and athletes with disabilities. Fanie coaches visually and intellectually impaired children.