My name is Jan Friedrich Wilhelm du Plessis – Will to my friends. I’m 32 and I’m an amputee, but I like to think there’s much more to me than just that!
In 1998 I was a typical active guy studying for a Diploma in Tourism. I was the Sports Portfolio Rep on the Student Council and I dreamt of being an Adventure Activities guide – rock climbing, shark cage diving and bungee-jumping – that’s what was going to pay the bills! I was 20 years old, and I was bullet proof!
BIO: I grew up in a small platteland town, Despatch. I joined the ballet school at the age of 4 and traded my pointers for a pair of netball tekkies 7 years later. I received my provincial colours in std 4 for netball and represented the Eastern Province every year thereafter until 2000 when we relocated to Cape Town. I represented Western Province in netball and action netball. In 2005 I was part of the South African Action netball Elite ladies team that travelled to Surfer’s Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia. I played the best netball of my life at this tournament and was awarded the Best South African Action Netball player of the tournament. In 2006 I again represented South Africa in Action netball and played in a test series against Australia in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Shortly thereafter, I retired from the sport, not because I wanted to, but because I had to due to recurring back pain. I started cycling competitively from the end of the 2007.
BIO: I was born in 1974 in a small town in the Eastern Cape called Uitenhage. I was a scholar at Despatch High school and if you know anything about rugby, you would know that it was the capital “city” of rugby in South Africa. In 1993 my final year of schooling, I was involved in a motorbike accident and damaged the brachial plexus nerve system of my left arm. For the next 2 years I was in and out of hospitals in Pretoria. I went for 2 operations were the doctor removed nerves from my calves and transplanted these into my arm in an attempt to reconnect the nerves. After countless physiotherapeutic sessions and a lot of hard work I managed to restore about 10-15% of the use of my left arm. I’m married to Michelle for 14 years now with 2 Border Collies as kids.
Birth date: 1977-06-17
Resides: Beaufort West
Origin of disability: “accident”
Events: track + road