Hi, my name is André Marais, I am 17years old and live in Bloemfontein, Free State. I was born on 4 August 1996 in a small town named Burgersdorp in the Eastern Cape.
My mom and grandparents found out by the age of 6 months that there was something wrong with me, for I did not reach the normal level of sitting already and holding my bottle in my right hand. They went to the doctors and that is where they diagnosed me with a cerebral pose.
My mom and I moved to Bloemfontein in 2005 for me to get an education at the Marthie Du Plessis school for the disabled. It was a great dream of mine to play rugby like the children with no disabilities, but due to my disability I was not allowed to take part in any contact sport. In 2009 we decided to take up cycling and to my surprise it was something that I was good at from the beginning and that is how it all started.
My first tournament that I’ve completed was in April 2009 in Johannesburg. I’ve received 4 gold medals for the 800m, 1500m on the track en on the Time Trials (5.4km) and road race (5.4km). I was the youngest contestant in the competition for that year. I’ve received my Free State colours.
In 2010 the team of the Free State went to Port Elizabeth where I’ve competed in the u/14 CP 2 section. I’ve received a bronze in the 800m, silver in the 1500m, Time Trials (6km) and road race (12km).
Unfortunately in 2011, I was unable to compete in any competition. Due to my disability I had to undergo a huge back operation and was out of the competition for the year. Fortunately, when I went for my physical examination in October 2011 the doctor was very satisfied with my progress and I could start my training for the 2012 Nedbank National Championship in Durban which took place in March / April. My dad and I started training again and the try-outs for the Free State team was in November 2011. At the try-outs, I made back on the Free State team for 2012 and all that was left now was to train as hard as I can.
2012, I am back, and I am back to win! The training is very hard, for I don’t have my own internationally standard tricycle for the physical disabled. I make use one at school and after hours I train on a normal bicycle. Eventually the time has arrived for the Nationals in Durban. I competed in the junior cycling competition under the T2 section and won all my items; 800m, 1500m, 5 km Time Trials, 10km Road Race.
2013, I didn’t have a good year and received 3 silver medals at the SA Tournament in Pretoria in March, for I had a lot of trouble with my bicycle during the tournament.
I am so glad I chose cycling over rugby for my whole perspective towards life changes when I am on my bicycle!
My greatest dream is to go to the Olympics, my own goal, and for my mom and recently passed grandfather, who was and still is my idol in life!
|Date||Event||Description & Venues||Position|
|I have represented the Free State team for the last 5 years|
|I have won a few gold, silver and bronze medals at the SA tournament|
- SA Cycling
- Going to participate in the OFM race
- Take part in competitions in and around Bloemfontein