34051-Cornelle Leach photo

Cornelle Leach



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
S12, SB12, SM12

Further personal information

Partner Russel Micheal Woolf
Potchefstroom, RSA
Afrikaans, English
Higher education
Commerce, Marketing, Tourism - North-West University: Potchefstroom, RSA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began Para swimming at age 11 in Lydenburg, South Africa.
Why this sport?
"I realised that I could no longer take part in team sports as I could not see the ball in netball and hockey, even when the teachers tried to make things easier with a neon ball and neon vests. Para swimming was my outlet."
Club / Team
North-West University Swimming Club: Potchefstroom, RSA
Name of coach
Licinda Kleinhans, RSA

International debut

Competing for
South Africa

General interest

Nella (Facebook profile, 22 Mar 2019)
Writing, travel. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Qualifying for the 2019 World Championships in London, England. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her mother. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
South African swimmer Penny Heynes. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you don't know where you're going, any road will do." (Facebook profile, 01 Mar 2021)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2019 Para Sportswoman of the Year by the North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. (, 18 Oct 2019)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Ettienne van Rensburg YouTube channel, 27 Jun 2019)
She was born with Stargardt disease, a genetic visual impairment that causes progressive vision loss. (Athlete, 09 Sep 2019)
Other information
She qualified for the World Series event in Berlin, Germany, in July 2017 but could not attend due to a registration error. "It was so difficult. For six months I had sacrificed everything to qualify. I got up at 4am and only went to bed after midnight. And when I heard that I had qualified, but could not go, I was heartbroken." She was also not originally registered in time to take part at the 2019 World Championships in London, England, but was later told she would be able to compete at the event. (, 15 Sep 2019)

She took a break from swimming from mid-2017 to concentrate on completing her final year of high school, and returned to the sport in her first year at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in 2018. (, 15 Sep 2019)

She plans to use her studies to open a resort catering for people with impairments in future, while providing training for athletes and coaches with impairments. (Ettienne van Rensburg YouTube channel, 27 Jun 2019)