Kamelen Kleinsmith

Kamelen Kleinsmith

BIO: I’m 20 years old and visually impaired. At the tender age of 2 and a half I was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis of the brain, a genetic disease I was born with. I had four tumours inside my brain and it was later found that I have these tumours inside my kidneys and liver too. At the age of 12, I lost my eyesight when one of the tumours inside my brain grew quite large and put too much pressure on my optic nerve. I then transferred to Athlone school for the blind where I learned to read and write Braille. Its also at this school where my athletic and cycling potential was nurtured. I started competing in athletics on a National level in 2006 and won gold in all my events three years in a row even set a new shot-put record in 2006. I started cycling in 2007 just for fun and did the Argus event in 2010. It was there that my ability to compete on a national level was noticed and I was invited to do the WP trials and teamed up with Michelle to do Nationals in 2011.

I love life and believe in challenging my abilities to the fullest. Being visually impaired has made me focus on maximising my abilities and I love the adrenalin rush that comes with cycling. I believe in hard work pays off and want to prove to able bodied people that life doesn't necessarily stop when you loosing a limb or two. 

I believe that my life has changed for the better after loosing my sight as it made me aware of how precious all my other body parts and senses are. Having a great sense of humour and the love and support of my family has helped me to grab life by the horns and ride with the wind until I fall off, just to dust myself off and get back up again. I will never give up!

Proudest athletic accomplishment? 
Winning the national Para-cycling championship in Rustenburg this year as it was my first time competing. I really worked very hard and was so proud to have that hard work pay off the way it did as our performance got us an invitation to compete internationally just a few weeks later in Australia.
What’s the strangest thing a spectator has ever said to you while racing? 
An Italian cyclist cheering us on to beat the Americans to the finish line at the Australian UCI World Cup.
What characteristics do you most respect in your competitors? 
Discipline and dedication.
If you weren’t racing, what would you be doing? 
Song title that best fits your personality/spirit? 
Miracles by Mariah Carey.
If you were a contestant on Survivor, what would be your one comfort item from home? 
Granny's food.
Personal causes you’re involved in? 
Community upliftment project in Ravensmead.
Three things people don’t know about you? 
I’m very stubborn, hard working and loves meeting new people.