Support central for hometown Olympian

IF POSITIVE thoughts can carry an athlete to victory, Griffith’s Joany Badenhorst is a certainty for a medal at the Sochi Winter Paralympic Games.

The 19-year-old, who lost her leg in a farm accident in South Africa a month before her 10th birthday, will debut as a snowboarder today.

Despite her hectic training schedule, she took time out to acknowledge the support she has received from home.

“Preparation is going really well, although snow conditions have been less than ideal, we are all having an absolute blast on our course,” she said.

“It’s tricky and very challenging but so rewarding.

“We are making sure that our diets and sleep regulation is consistent and just trying to soak up the experience.

“I am over the moon about my upcoming event. It’s such an exciting time, not only for me but it for the para snowboard world. I just can’t wait to get everything started. Bring on Friday!

“I would just like to thank Griffith for their on going support, all the lovely messages and posts I’ve been receiving from home, they have made my day everyday.”

Louisa Raso was Joany’s year 12 co-ordinator a few years ago at Marian Catholic College. 

She said there was no doubt that the whole school had got behind the inspirational teen.

“She only came to Marian in year 11, so she hadn’t been in Griffith long, but she was always one of those kids who would give anything a go,” Ms Raso said.

“I saw her push through the pain a few times. She was very determined. Failure was not an option for Joany. She is such an amazing person, with so much positive energy for life.”

Joany has no shortage of fans in Griffith, with many locals watching the Sochi Paralympics on ABC hoping to catch a glimpse her.

ABC1 is showing highlights from the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games. The action screens from 10.30am to 11am and repeated at 6pm to 6.30pm, on ABC1 from March 8 through to March 17.

“We have all been following her blogs on Facebook and watching her YouTube videos,” Ms Raso said.

“She only took up snowboarding last year, so it’s amazing that she is even there.

“I use Joany as an example that anything is possible all the time in class. She is definitely a big role model around the school and we are proud of her.”

Joany will compete in the snowboard cross at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games today, bewteen 5pm and 7.20pm Australian time.

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