The Paralympic Games are scheduled to begin in Tokyo on August 24, 2021, over five months. Berlin-born Maria Tietze will debut in the beginning. The now 31-year-old started playing football as an athlete and now has a Paralympian (and still plays football) and an amputation in his left leg after an accident. At this point, the sprinter and tall jumper will talk about Tokyo’s own way and the Paralympics every month and then at short intervals before the game.
Are you familiar with volleyball seating? It is a type of volleyball that is played on the floor of the hall. Certainly not in a cross-legged position, it would be comfortable, but then there would be little movement.
Sitting volleyball is by no means inferior to its permanent counterpart in terms of sports speed. The rules are very much the same. The biggest exception is that information can already be blocked on the network and both teams, each with 6 field players, run on a tiny little area.
Seated volleyball can often be found in Parasports’ offerings, although it is a very inclusive sport. At the local level, not only people with disabilities, but also men and women are allowed to play together for points. At the Paralympic level, however, all players will have to put a handicap on paper. In 1992 and 2012, the German men’s team won the Paralympic Bronze medal.
This year, men still have high hopes, even though the road to Tokyo is difficult. While athletes from individual sports can smell the air of competition from time to time, the team events are slightly different, apart from football and handball.
In particular, the team was hit last year to the extent that they were already on a plane to Oklahoma for the qualifying tournament and had to fly back immediately because US borders were closed to foreigners.
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The tournament was canceled for a short time and was actually due to be held in Germany in February. It also had to be postponed and will now be in Duisburg from 1 to 6 June. Our expectation for Tokyo is to play in a group seven-team tournament with Kazakhstan and Canada for the remaining tickets to Tokyo.
Unfortunately, the women missed their qualification before the first lockdown, but they also had to deal with unsuccessful and postponed tournaments. The Nations League and EM could not have been earlier and are now scheduled for July and October respectively.
The situation is not any easier when you look at training opportunities. Because players sit directly opposite each other on the net, it is officially a contact sport. So there was no opportunity to train together in the first lockdown. You had to meet with online training, personal stability and endurance programs at home.
Summer courses were possible again
When training in small groups became possible again, he trained with a tarpaulin on the net so that no one could breathe. In the summer, courses for national teams were again possible. Of course, only after PCR testing, with a strict hygiene concept and, if possible, in places where you were the only group.
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As is well known, the second hard lockdown followed and allowed all squad athletes: inside to continue training for national teams and to participate in courses. First.
Suddenly women were excluded from training camps because only men still had a chance to participate in the Paralympic Games. For the players, this decision was difficult to understand because the ban was not present in the Olympic Games. In the German Handicapped Sports Association, however, this strict regulation was introduced for all parasports.
The week starts with a quick exam
Of course, the team clings to the guidelines, after all, they do not want to endanger anyone. So there was only club training then. On a Leverkusen federal basis, they undergo a rapid test every first training session of the week and only begin sports week if the result is negative.
So far they are doing very well with this process. Possibly all national players would be very fit individually later, but what about stepping into and defending the national team together?
Sonja Skolen from TSV Bare 04 Leverkusen describes how happy and grateful she is to be a sports person and a team athlete. Because in this way, there is at least direct contact with the team, which is a huge mental support, since she has been working from home since March 2020. You and your fellow players are aware of these advantages and you immediately believe your voice, that it is so much more than just any empty phrase. It is therefore quite clear that although athletes do a lot of good things through their sport, they have to shine with ease and flexibility rather than serving in the present.