• July 6th, 2020

The poignant life story of wheelchair cyclist Roodly Gowaseb…against all odds



Eighteen years ago, young Roodly Gowaseb sat in the back seat of a car, most probably thinking back on the last football game he played for his club Nampol at the time. The idea that someone might skip a stop sign at that very moment was something that he never expected to happen, but it did. 

The car collided with Gowaseb’s vehicle from the side, throwing him violently against the door. When he woke up, his dreams of the next goal, the next game, the next step over, was replaced with the harsh reality of being paralysed from the waist down.

Two weeks in intensive care, followed by another 10 weeks of recovery, was more than enough time for Gowaseb to realize the severity of his injuries, and what was to come. Depression followed, and for the longest period of time, Gowaseb could not deal with his situation, which eventually led to him contemplating taking his own life. He says; “It was the lowest point of my life, but through faith, I persevered.”

Having been an active person, Gowaseb sought to discover a new passion in life, something that would set him free from the constraints of his wheelchair. He discovered wheelchair basketball at which he excelled, and which would eventually make him realize that he himself was his only limitation. Gowaseb was introduced to wheelchair cycling not long after, and as mentioned by him “I fell in love instantly, the freedom, the speed.”

With his newfound passion, Gowaseb pushed himself to become the best he could be, training relentlessly, overcoming the fear of doing something that he thought he would never be able to. In 2016, he entered into the Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge for the 21km race. He brought home silver that year, finishing in second place. The next year, he took on the same distance, motivated and determined, Gowaseb crossed the finish line in first place. 

Ahead of this year’s Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge, an article about the story of Gowaseb’s hopes to compete again at the 2020 Outeniqua Wheelchair Challenge in the 42km distance was published, but due to financial restraints, this dream was in danger of being just that, a dream. 

Snyman Transport and Hollard Namibia saw the article and together decided to sponsor the N$25 060 00 that the cyclist would need to travel to South Africa, and pursue his dream. With the help of Snyman Transport and Hollard Namibia, Gowaseb did participate and won a bronze medal for Namibia.

“For someone to go through what he did, and still find the resolve to achieve something as amazing as becoming an athlete, participating on international platforms, is deserving of all the support and admiration we at Hollard and Snyman Transport can give. It is therefore a very proud moment for us to support Gowaseb, as he proudly represents his country, his people, and those who face the same reality as he did,” said the sponsors.

Gowaseb says: “The change was overwhelming, the low points were more difficult to overcome, but I rose above them. With a positive mind, you will find that the strength you need, is already inside you. Never give up on life, but more importantly, never ever give up on yourself. You have the power to achieve absolutely anything you put your mind to.”


Staff Reporter
2020-02-19 09:14:25 | 4 months ago

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