29168-Maria Combrink photo

Maria Combrink



Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Johannesburg, RSA
Afrikaans, English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She practised wheelchair basketball while recovering from her amputation and then took up Para athletics in December 2015 at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. She also joined the university's rowing team.
Why this sport?
"I loved throwing and have always been interested in sport. I started off going to watch the Para Sports National Championships that was hosted at the University of Johannesburg. I actually just started walking again, it was about three months off to my amputation. I was looking at these athletes and like, 'Maybe I could do that'. But then I ended up playing wheelchair basketball for a bit, and while I was playing, the athletics association saw me and said, 'Please come and try, and see if you like it or not'. I thought playing wheelchair basketball was making me lazy because I could walk. 'Why am I sitting while I've been fighting to be able to walk and run again?' So that didn't make sense. So then I went and tried the athletics."

International debut

Competing for
South Africa

General interest

Reading, science, hiking, gardening. (Facebook page, 11 Apr 2020)
Hero / Idol
New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams, US Para pentathlete Jeremy Campbell. (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Do better than you did yesterday." (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2017 Female Para Athlete of the Year at the Gauteng Sports Awards in South Africa. (, 14 Jun 2019)
Other sports
She has represented South Africa in underwater hockey. (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (SABC YouTube channel, 11 Jun 2019)
"In May 2011 I slipped and fell from a height. I crushed the bridge of my right foot. During the following three years surgeons did their best to save the foot, however nothing worked. I opted for amputation rather than being held back by constant pain. For me, the quality of life with a prosthesis seemed like a better option than not being able to do what I love, sport, hiking and kayaking. My right foot was amputated in July 2014 below the knee. The choice of amputation height was to accommodate prosthetic feet." (, 30 Jan 2016)
Other information
She has worked as a geologist in South Africa. "I'm a geologist by training. After the amputation, the profession felt that I might be a health and safety risk. So I moved more out of the field and more into the office. I still do site visits which I love. I love rocks and minerals, I can talk about it for hours." (SABC YouTube channel, 11 Jun 2019)

She has a master's degree in palynology from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Athlete, 16 Jul 2017)

She has been involved with the charity 'Stand With Stan', which helps people who have undergone amputations to regain confidence through mobility and sport. (, 2016)


Unit Date Rank
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Discus Throw F44 Final 1 2017-07-18 7
Women's Shot Put F44 Final 1 2017-07-21 4