FEEL GOOD | WATCH: Athlete with Down Syndrome sets her sights on major table tennis tournament

2020-03-12 06:03
Down Syndrome athlete Cindy Engelbrecht

Down Syndrome athlete Cindy Engelbrecht

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Despite the limitations placed on her at birth, Cindy Engelbrecht is one of South Africa's top Down Syndrome athletes, and she is just getting started.

She has now set her sights on winning a major table tennis tournament.

Engelbrecht, 30, from Centurion in Gauteng, has never let her diagnosis hold her back from achieving her dreams.

In 2018, she represented South Africa at the Sports Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SU-DS) World Championships in Athletics in Portugal, where she made the podium for three different events.

Engelbrecht brought home two silver and a bronze medal for shotput, discus and javelin, respectively.

"Cindy is fearless and has a can-do attitude," her brother, Jean Engelbrecht, said.

"Sport is a big part of her life and every time we think she can't get any better, she passes our expectations and sets new goals. She keeps striving to be the best she can be and at the same time she motivates fellow contestants to be their best."

Cindy Engelbrecht

Engelbrecht holds the Gauteng North Table Tennis Champion title and has been invited to compete at the South African Down Syndrome Table Tennis Championships in Cape Town.

Engelbrecht said she had trained hard and was looking forward to visiting Cape Town and bringing home a medal. 

The tournament will take place from 23 to 27 March.

The family has set up an online fundraising campaign to raise money to send Engelbrecht to the competition. 

As of Wednesday, the campaign, on fundraising site Backabuddy, has raised just under R5 000, which is just short of the R7 000 target.

The funds would be used for transport, accommodation, food and a planned tour with her team.

"We really hope the public will support our Wonder Woman in reaching her dreams as we know it will motivate her to dream bigger and reach new heights," Jean said.

Cindy Engelbrecht


Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by abnormal cell division that results in either a partial or full extra copy of chromosome 21. The disorder causes developmental and physical changes.

- Compiled by Alex Mitchley

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  feel good  |  down syndrome
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