"To compete at the Games, representing Australia and racing the best race of my life would be my end goal - that would make it all worth it.”
Joany Badenhorst is ready to put last season behind her. But that is not to say that the Australian snowboarder had a bad season.
On the contrary, Badenhorst is coming off a season that saw her capture double bronze at the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships in Big White, Canada. She also pocketed the World Cup crystal globe in snowboard-cross women’s SB-LL2.
Now, fresh off a banked slalom victory in Friday’s (1 September) season opener in Treble Cone, New Zealand, Badenhorst is eager to show that she has stepped up her game.
“It’s always an incredible confidence boost when you get to walk away at the end of a long and tough season with a medal or two but, that was last season,” Badenhorst said. “It’s a new page with bigger and better competition. So I am making sure that I am as competitive as can be leading into this season's races.”
The start of the international season began on Thursday with the World Para Snowboard Southern Hemisphere Cup, which is part of the Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ.
Badenhorst met expectations, winning the women’s SB-LL2 category, and will try to make it two-for-two as competition continues on Friday (1 September) with the first World Cup event, also in banked slalom.
Her two toughest opponents – the Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Spee and Lisa Bunschoten – are not competing in New Zealand. But Badenhorst knows she will eventually line up with them later this season, ending with the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in March.
“Both Bibian and Lisa are my biggest competitors, they are phenomenal athletes so at the end of the day it will take everything I’ve got and then some - but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Badenhorst, who finished behind the two in both banked slalom and snowboard-cross at Big White 2017.
Four years ago, Badenhorst watched Mentel-Spee capture gold at Sochi 2014, and the Dutch champion has proved she is the one to chase in the SB-LL2.
But being at the top of the podium is not Badenhorst’s goal.
“I have dedicated the last four years of my life to be able to compete at the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games,” Badenhorst said. “It’s taking a lot of hard work, sacrifices and commitment to my training to ensure that I am able to put my best foot forward come race day.
“I still have a lot of work to do before the Games get underway, a lot of goals to still tick but being able to compete at the Games, representing Australia and racing the best race of my life would be my end goal - that would make it all worth it.”