Montjane was born in 1986 in Polokwane with a congenital birth defect that affected both her hands and feet, resulting in an amputation below the left knee at the age of 12. She began her tennis career aged 20, and has since competed in the Paralympics in Beijing, London, and Rio. In 2018, she became the first African wheelchair tennis player to compete in the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same calendar year.
Over the years, Montjane has worked hard to distinguish herself as a sportswoman and as a leader. She has won numerous Sportswoman of the Year awards and captained the South African wheelchair tennis team to their first ever top four finish at an international World Team Cup event. She also runs the Montjane Sports Development NGO, which establishes sporting facilities for disadvantaged people in rural areas.
“We are proud to welcome Kgothatso Montjane as a Discovery Vitality Ambassador. We believe her hard work, compassion and leadership, both on and off the court, will show people – those able-bodied and differently-abled, from all walks of life and of all fitness levels – that each one of us can take steps to improve our physical and mental health, and that within each of us lies the potential to achieve great things,” says Iona Maclean, head of experiential marketing at Discovery.
“At a time in our history when people are looking for hope and inspiration, Discovery’s ambassadors have been able to connect with so many on a personal level, becoming beacons of positive action and perseverance. Vitality’s global ambition is to make 100 million people 20% more active by 2025, and we are thrilled to have KG on board to help us achieve this goal,” notes Maclean.
Kgothatso is competing in the Melbourne Open this week, an ITF level event taking place in Melbourne from 8 to 11 February 2021. After which she’ll compete in the women’s wheelchair tennis singles section of the Australian Open between 14 and 17 February 2021 – the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year.
In becoming a Discovery Vitality Ambassador, Montjane joins fellow Olympians Chad le Clos, Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk, as well as legendary footballer Lucas Radebe.
Montjane expressed enthusiasm in joining the Discovery family, saying, “I’m incredibly excited by this new partnership, and the opportunity it provides to bring hope to others. Although Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on everyone in the sports industry, I am more determined than ever to take on new challenges, encourage more people to get active, and help grow tennis in South Africa.”
Emy Casaletti-Bwalya, CEO of Optimize Agency said: “As KG’s agent, we are elated by Discovery’s appointment of KG as their brand ambassador. Knowing the difficulties that differently-abled athletes face for funding their training and competitive activities, this partnership will go a long way in assisting KG improve her game. She has already achieved so much in her career, yet she still has so much to give us South Africans, both as a champion and as a motivational force. It’s a privilege to be able to support such a committed and talented athlete.”
The left-handed tennis champ, who holds a BSc degree in Recreation and Leisure, currently trains in Pretoria with coach Siyabulela Nkachela.