Mandilene Hoffman a rising star in SA’s disability sports

Mandilene Hoffman a rising star in SA’s disability sports

Mandilene Hoffman set a new African record in the women’s U20 discus (F44) with a 31.66m throw at the recent South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships.

Mandilene Hoffman set a new African record in the women’s U20 discus (F44) throw at the recent South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled National Championships. Picture: @ SASAPD / Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – The future of parasports in South Africa looks bright with young athletes making sure that their presence is felt at competitions.

The recent South African Sports Association for Physically Disabled (SASAPD) National Championships saw South African athletes break 97 SA records and 11 African records.

READ: Disabled athletes break 97 SA and 11 African records at SASAPD National Champs

One of them was Mandilene Hoffman, who set a new African record in the women’s U20 discus (F44) with a 31.66m throw.

Eyewitness News caught up with Mandilene Hoffman and her parents, Madri and Nico, to talk about her sporting career and achievements.

“I am extremely proud of Mandilené, not only regarding her recent performances but also of her continued determination and perseverance to become the best in the world. She never becomes dejected even if performances do not go her way di lei or about her disabilities di lei. She is a shining example to everybody that any hurdle in life can be overcome if you have the right mindset, ”said Nico Hoffman.

The 18-year-old was born with EZH2 overgrowth syndrome. The condition results in permanent patella [kneecap] dislocation and instability resulting in no knee extension, as well as damage to the muscle and nerves in her right leg. She also has general muscle impairment in both legs.

“I had a more or less normal upbringing, unaware that my disability was actually a disability, and accepted it as part of my life. My knees dislocating and me falling often and me being taller than all my classmates and walking with more difficulty was not something I perceived as anything abnormal until later when we started consulting some specialists in my early teens. Most traumatic for me was when a knee specialist recommended an operation on my right knee to correct my displaced patella at age 8, ”Mandilene explained.

The operation that the para-athlete refers to damaged her nerves, muscles, growth plate, and patella in her right leg. She has patella displacement in both legs, tilting of her hip to the right, and scoliosis of the spine.

Hoffman wears a back brace 20 hours of the day, walks with the assistance of a walk-on flex on her right leg due to a drop foot and patella displacement. She also wears a permanent knee brace on her left knee to prevent chronic dislocation of her left patella. She also had operations on both hands in 2015 to correct the camptodactyly of her little fingers, which included removing nerves from her wrists.

Hoffman was introduced to disability sport in 2016 and has since made sure that she outdoes herself on the field.

“Johan Snyders (my orthotist and manager of IsAbility Sport Club) and Fred Furstenburg introduced me to the disabled sports environment in 2016, and I am forever grateful to them for this,” she said.

The youngster, who won a gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland, took up shot put at a young age and has never looked back.

“At age 10, during try-outs for school sports, I won the shot put event on my first attempt at this sport. I then realized I had a talent and fell in love with shot put. I later also fell in love with discus throwing and as they say, the rest is history, “Mandilene said.

The 18-year-old, like all other athletes, is hoping to be part of the South African team that represents the country at the upcoming Commonwealth Games and dreams of participating at the Paralympics at some point in her career.

“My first goal now is to make sure I prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, should I be selected to go. It will be such a big honor for me to represent my country at these Games. Looking further forward, I would like to attend the IWAS World Games in Portugal later this year, the WPA Senior World Championships in Paris next year, and ultimately, my biggest dream is to represent my country at the Paralympics in 2024, ”she said.

Her mother, Madri Hoffmann, said that she had learned a few lessons over the years as a parent of a para-athlete, including investing in your child’s time and mental health in order to help them reach their dream of being a successful athlete.

“First, not to pressure her to fulfill your (own) dreams that you have set for your child. That you must buy into her dreams di lei and that you must support her to achieve what she set out to do at her own pace. It must also be borne in mind that many sacrifices must be made to enable your child to reach your dreams (money and time and mental wellness), but in the end, it is worth it, ”Madri said.

The athlete, whose motto is “never give up on your dream. I am unique, true to myself “, lei has so far won a gold medal at the WPA World Championships, is ranked sixth in the world for both discus and shot put while also breaking the SA and African records twice in her class F44.

“All my costs for attending the Senior World Championships were covered by Sascoc, for which I am very grateful. My biggest sponsors thus far have been my mom and step-dad. Small contributions from other family members and an organization called “Die Turke,” Mandilene explained.

Mandilene Hoffman has been dubbed one of the athletes to watch, she’s a rising star and like every great athlete she has an entire village pushing and pulling her up towards her goals of representing and winning medals for South Africa. The athlete trains six days a week.


Leave a Comment