We get to know Pieter Badenhorst, a multiple Paralympic athlete and brand ambassador for Toyota South Africa, better.
“There is an abundance of opportunities out there. To find out what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at, you need to grab every opportunity that comes your way. The day will come when skill and satisfaction merge; this is priceless. And, remember even if you fail at something, you learn more from failing than winning and, most of all, at least you have tried.”
This is the advice from Pieter Badenhorst, who is a multiple Paralympic athlete and is now the brand ambassador for Toyota South Africa for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
At the age of five, Pieter lost his arms in an electricity accident where he tried to pick up power lines that had blown over in a storm, thinking they were ropes. He was severely burnt and had to have both arms amputated to save his life; his left arm was amputated through his shoulder and the right arm just below his elbow.
Pieter always loved sport. He tried out as many sports as he could, by participating in any way that he was possible. At a young age, his talent of running and jumping was discovered.
He participated in his first national championships at the age of 11. At age 21, he won his first gold medal in the 400m TS3 and silver medal for the 200m TS3 at the 1992 Summer Paralympics held in Barcelona, Spain.
After competing in three Paralympic Games, Pieter then became involved in the management of the Paralympic team and attended three further Paralympic Games as part of team management, eventually becoming the Chef de Mission for the South African Paralympic team.
Toyota brand ambassador
As part of Pieter’s role as brand ambassador, he will run part of the torch relay race, where the Olympic torch will be carried around the whole of Japan, passed from athlete to athlete, with it arriving at the stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
Pieter has been working for Toyota for the last 25 years and is currently part of the team that trains their dealer network.
Two years ago, Toyota announced that they are the new Global Partner for the Olympic and Paralympic movement. This has given Pieter a great opportunity to be involved in creating awareness within Toyota SA around the needs of people with disabilities in South Africa. Toyota are leading the way in providing support to the disability sector on numerous levels.
Independent driver with peace of mind
Pieter feels privileged to be able to drive a car as it gives him freedom and independence. His advice to people with disabilities who are looking to purchase a vehicle is that: “You first need to establish what your needs are; and then match it with certain features and advantages of a specific vehicle. Do as much shopping around, if possible, and always test drive a new car.”
He goes on to say that if you want your car to enhance your quality of life as a person with a disability, then you need peace of mind. This is the reason he chooses vehicles that are trusted brands that can be relied on.
Apart from his working life, Pieter loves spending time with his wife and two children. They are avid campers, who enjoy being out in the African bush. This is one of the reasons that he chose the 4×4 Toyota Fortuner. It has no problem towing his camping trailer, and the 4×4 feature provides Pieter with confidence, knowing that his vehicle can get him out of any ‘muddy’ situations he finds himself in the bush.