Berno Haarhoff

Berno Haarhoff is not only one of South Africa’s most promising young Paralympic athletes; alongside holding down a full-time job, training five times a week and studying, this 25-year-old also finds time to act as role-model to other cancer survivors and disabled youngsters.

Sport: Athletics
Nationality: South African
Gender: Male
Born: 30th May 1986
Amputation: Above-the-Knee
Class: T42 / F42
Main Events: 100m, 200m & Long Jump
Club: Is Ability Sports Club
Affiliations: Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics & Jumping Kids Prosthetic Fund

Background

Berno lost his right leg above the knee in November 2008 after a two year battle with cancer. After having to endure several chemo-therapy treatments, and no less than 13 operations, the decision to amputate was a difficult one for the former Gauteng North Gymkhana athlete.

Berno made himself a promise then and there – he would continue to pursue his dream of representing South Africa internationally and would work towards a chance to compete at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Early in 2009 Berno received a brand new custom-designed walking prosthetic through the combined efforts of Jacaranda 94.2’s Good Morning Angels, the Vodacom Foundation, and Icexpress Progressive Prosthetics. He was fitted on 9 March 2009 and then astounded members of the press when he mounted and rode a horse again, (for the first time in two years), less than two weeks after being fitted with his Ice-prosthetic!

This was the start of a personal campaign that took Berno from qualifying and competing at his first ever Nedbank National Athletics Championships, to representing South Africa at both the 2011 IPC World Championships and the 2011 IWAS World Games.

Within the 36 months following amputation, Berno Haarhoff managed to consistently improve on his athletic performances.

2006 Diagnosed with cancer
2008 November - Amputation of right leg above the knee
2009 March - Fitted with Icexpress prosthetic and mounts a horse again nine days later
2010 March - Competes at his first Nedbank National Athletic Championships for the Physically Disabled and wins a bronze medal in the F42 Shot Put event, while narrowly missing the qualifying standard in the T42 100m
2010 August - Runs the 100m in 15.64 seconds and achieves a World Qualifying B time of 33.40 seconds in the 200m at the SASAPD-SASCOC Invitational at the University of Johannesburg
2010 October - Breaks the 15 second mark in the T42 100m with a time of 14.81 seconds and continues to improve on 200m event at the second round of Gauteng Trials
2010 September - Invited to attend the SASAPD-SASCOC training camp in Stellenbosch which led to his subsequent selection to represent South Africa at the 2011 IPC World Championships in New Zealand
2011 January - New African Records in both the T42 100m (15.09s) and the 200m (30.58s) events at the IPC World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand
2011 March - Silver in the 100m (15.60s), gold in the 200m (31.46s), and gold in the Long jump (3.93m)
2011 December - Bronze medals in the 100m, 200m, and F42 Long Jump event while (again) smashing the African Records in the T42 100m (15.02s) and the Long Jump (3.93m) at the IWAS World Games in Sharjah, Dubai

Keeping up with Reuben

Someone who knows the value of a healthy lifestyle for a lower limb amputee and prosthetic user is Reuben van Niekerk. We caught up with the five-time Absa Cape Epic finisher to find out more.

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