Ernst Francois Van Dyk (1973 - )
The Order of Ikhamanga in
Profile of Ernst Francois Van Dyk
Ernst Francois Van Dyk was born on 4 April 1973 in Ceres, 150 kilometers north-east of Cape Town in the Western Cape. He was born without legs but beat the odds not only to become an avid sportsman, but with his studies in Sports Science at the University of Stellenbosch proving to also be a passionate sports student.
Van Dyk participated in the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992 and some years later made his mark in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics, where he earned a bronze medal for his country.
This was the start of other major victories, such as winning the Boston Marathon for the ninth time in April 2010. It was the South African’s third consecutive marathon win. He won six consecutive years from 2000 to 2006, including a world record time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 27 seconds in 2004.
In 2001, he won the Los Angeles Marathon and after numerous runner-up positions in the Paralympics, he won the Seoul International Wheelchair Marathon in 2005. In 2008, he was the Ambassador to the International Paralympics Committee. Van Dyk was the only athlete to receive medals in two different sporting codes in Beijing in 2008.
In his sporting life, he has received many awards, including the Western Cape Sports Star of the Year and Sports Star of the Year Award from the Boland Sports Council in 2005. In 2006, he was also named the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.
Ernst Van Dyk’s life and achievements are inspirational, and he rose above what would normally be an inhibiting disability to lead a fulfilling life of extraordinary achievements. His academic and sporting successes make him a true ambassador who will always inspire the younger generations of our country.