Lifa Hlongwa grew up in Durban with his mother and three sisters and played premiership rugby in Durban for Northwood Crusaders. He pursued a career in rugby in Durban until he got injured in June 2017.

Lifa was sent to hospital where the doctors broke the news to him. He had broken his spinal cord at the base of his neck, C6 and C7 vertebrae, classifying him as a quadriplegic. The doctors said he would never walk again or use his hands for basic tasks.

Just five months after his injury, Hilary Abrahams made contact after hearing his story on the radio and convinced him to try rowing with Durban Rowing Club.

Lifa is currently a third year BComm Economics student at the University of Johannesburg.

See his story here:

The 16th Gavirate International Pararowing Regatta took place from 13 to 15 May in Gavirate, Italy. Lifa made his international debut and said he learnt a lot during the regatta.

“A special thank you to World Rowing for the development camp and this amazing opportunity for classification and racing, but most of all for the networking and learning amongst all the pararowing nations,” he said.

Results:
PR1 M1X – 2nd in C Final (14th overall)
Pr1 M1X – 3rd in B Final (9th overall)

Lifa will now travel back to South Africa and resume training for the RMB South African National Rowing Championships at Roodeplaat Dam at the end May 2022.