Stand Tall Ambassador Joany Badenhorst
Joany Badenhorst is an Australian Paralympian who was selected to compete in Para-snowboard cross at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi. She would have been the first female snowboarder to represent Australia at the Winter Paralympics, but was forced to withdraw from her event after suffering an injury to her left knee whilst training on the morning of the event.
Joany was born in 1994 Harrismith, South Africa.
On 12 July 2005, whilst playing with a group of friends on her family farm, her trousers were caught in the power take-off shaft of a tractor that was clearing firebreaks. Her left leg was severed 6 inches below the knee. Her family movied to Australia in 2009 so she could receive better medical assistance. She had further surgery to rectify problems with her leg in early 2011.
Before her accident, Joany was an accomplished athlete who had won provincial colours in high jump . After her accident, she was fitted with a prosthetic leg, and placed second in the school 100 metres event. She competed for South Africa at the Paralympic Youth Games in 2009 and narrowly missed qualifying for the Australian athletics team for the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.
Australian Paralympic snowboarding coach Peter Higgins identified Joany as a likely snowboarder after the London Games, and she commenced training in this sport. In taking up snowboarding, she needed a new custom-made leg. She said: "I need a special leg that has to be engineered differently to accommodate the different pressures and angles of snowboarding.”
In the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Games, Joany competed and trained in the Netherlands, Austria, and the United States. By February 2014, she was ranked eighth in the world. She would have been the first female snowboarder to represent Australia at the Winter Paralympics at Sochi, but was forced to withdraw from her event after suffering an injury to her left knee whilst training on the morning of the event.
In February 2015, at the IPC Para-Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain, she won a silver medal in the Women's SB-LL2. She competed with one arm in a cast due to a fracture caused in a training accident a week before the Championships.
At the 2017 IPC Para-Snowboard World Championships in Big White City, she won bronze medals in the Women's Snowboard Cross Banked Slalom and Women's Snow Board Cross Lower limb 2 impairment.