Expo Ambassador Announced

Joany Badenhorst

Joany Badenhorst Inspires as Sydney’s Expo Ambassador

The Sydney Disability Expo is proud to announce that Paralympian snowboarder Joany Badenhorst will be our 2018 ambassador. The opening ceremony will feature Joany, who ranks Number 1 in the world for Boarder-Cross LL-2 and was co-captain and first female Australian flagbearer at the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Paralympics.

Joany’s story is one of triumph. Following a childhood tractor accident in which she lost her lower leg, it was a long journey that led to her current success.

In Joany’s Story, she reflects on how the accident and long rehabilitation took a significant emotional and psychological toll on herself, her family and friends. After moving to Australia from South Africa, she was determined to take up track and field, something she had shown promise in prior to the accident.

By 2012, her sites were set on the London Paralympic Games. Disappointment came, however, and she missed out on selection by a hare’s breath. It was around then that she was convinced to try snowboarding. “It was like the worst time in my life… but I don’t like quitting something because I don’t like it.”

Her persistence and hard work paid off in 2014 when Joany was selected to compete in the Sochi Paralympics. However, bad luck struck again when, just hours before her race, she crashed during her last training session, breaking her patella, dislocating her knee and collapsing her hip.

Her deep-seated desire to beat all odds and achieve her dreams meant that Joany was not going to let this stop her. Her dedication paid off in two silver-medal winning performances for the 2015 World Cup, going on to win the 2016/17 World Cup, and then representing Australia at the 2018 South Korea Games in PyeongChang.

Joany sees her public profile as a platform to help people. “I’ve always looked up to people who go above and beyond to achieve their goals and dreams. Somehow, I got slotted in with those people. It’s like one of those dreams.”

It’s obvious to those who know her story that, despite hardships, Joany sees possibilities rather than only limitations. This makes her the obvious choice as ambassador for the Sydney Disability Expo.

An initiative of 4community in conjunction with the Parramatta City Council and National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the Sydney Disability Expo will feature over 150 exhibitors, and include key speakers, NDIS Q&A sessions and entertainment.

The expo provides the best solution for one of the biggest challenges posed by the NDIS: how can consumers best navigate their service and support options and decide upon their preferences? The expo brings together the latest technology, aids and equipment to test-drive and provides face to face time with a range of service providers, government agencies and advocacy groups, giving Sydneysiders a clearer picture of the possibilities for their future.

The expo commences on Friday, May 25, with an 11am opening ceremony and ends at 3pm on Saturday, May 26, after a full schedule of events at the Southee Complex, Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush. Joany will be honoured guest, speaking at the opening ceremony and signing autographs afterwards.

Highlights of the Sydney Disability Expo

  • Friday May 25 and Saturday May, 26 (9am to 3pm)
  • Opened on Friday, May 25 at 11am, by the Hon. Ray Williams MP, Minister for Disability Services
  • NDIS Q&A sessions 1pm on Friday and 12.30pm on Saturday
  • Guest speaker and autograph signing by Joany Badenhorst
  • Stage performances by disability performance groups including MC Dance Group
  • Entertainment for those young at heart
  • Quiet room
  • Over 150 exhibitors