Griffith Paralympian Joany Badenhorst ruled out of Winter Paralympics

Griffith’s paralympian Joany Badenhorst has had her dreams cut short after picking up an injury in the lead-up to the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang.

Badenhorst won an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Crystal Globe in February for banked slalom and sealed the overall Globe too, signifying she was the best performed athlete over the World Cup season just ended.

She headed into PyeongChang with high medal hopes. They have now been shattered - like crystal - but Badenhorst is an athletic force to be reckoned with.

The 23-year-old dislocated her left knee cap and caused extensive ligament damage in a training crash on Saturday. She was due to compete in the first of her two events in PyeongChang on Monday. She has now withdrawn.

Eerily, the same circumstances - a dislocated left knee cap - on the eve of competition at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games ended her campaign there too.

“"Basically, I kind of caught off a feature in the middle of the course just after turn four,” she said.

“I was not balanced enough in the air and as I came down I was front heavy and basically the tip of my snowboard caught the downwards ramp of a feature and I kind of tomahawked forward and slammed my body to the snow.

"There was a lot of tumbling and throughout the tumbling, I got really twisted up, really twisted. I could kind of feel both my legs were in a lot of pain but all I wanted to do was get off the course and to the medical centre down below so we could figure out what was going on. I was really hoping for the best.

"You can probably imagine, I was incredibly emotional I’d say, and quite devastated but I think I took it as well as can be, and it’s not what I expected.

"I can’t really think about it right now, it does make me really, really emotional and I’m quite fragile at the moment."

I can’t really think about it right now, it does make me really, really emotional and I’m quite fragile at the moment

Joany Badenhorst

But ever the optimist, Badenhorst is now counting her blessings, even if she has to dig to find them.

"Considering the extent of my injury and the damage I did to myself and my back brace, I’m actually very, very, very lucky I was wearing a knee brace, my helmet and my back brace – it could have been so much worse and that’s what I’m really thankful for,” she said.

"And yeah again, I can’t race. I’d been working so hard but it doesn’t define me and it doesn’t define my career as a snowboarder luckily.

"It would have been great to do it but it’s not the worst thing in the world right now, and I’m very lucky to be able to walk away from this the way I am – with the amount of injuries I have. It could have been way worse.”

In a show of true team spirit Badenhorst stay in Sochi and offer support for her teammates still competing in the events.

“We still have another 11 athletes competing and they always can do with a loud cheer squad," she said.

"You’ve heard me talk, I can talk anyone’s ear off. I’m going to be in the crowd, with them every step of the way. 

"I’m going to attend both of the races and be the fan club, and make sure that no matter what all of our athletes need, I’ll be in their corner.

“I’m there and I’m going to try and define myself another role."