Cheuk In Wai from Hong Kong is the first gold medal winner at the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 in the rhythmic gymnastics all-around competition. The delegation from Special Olympics Germany also got off to a successful start at the Games.
The sports, which are hosted on the grounds of Messe Berlin, have their award ceremonies after the respective finals in the beautiful Sommergarten. There is a large stage set up right in the middle of the action.
The first award ceremony took place after the all-around final of gymnastics-rhythmic. Some of the athletes still had their glittering competition clothes on. Among them was 15-year-old Cheuk In Wai from Hong Kong, who successfully performed her exercises with the ball, clubs, hoops and ribbon on Sunday.
The athletes were called up one by one and the participation ribbons and medals were awarded from eighth place backwards to first place.
Gold was finally awarded to Cheuk In Wai – the first gold medal of these Berlin Games. She climbed the podium a bit cautiously and hesitantly, but when the enthusiastic audience once again erupted into cheers and applause, she smiled and simply enjoyed the beautiful moment.
Wai trains with Special Olympics Hong Kong twice a week. She has been practicing for the World Games in Berlin for about five years: "I am very happy about this first medal that I can take home. Everything went well in my exercises today, and tomorrow I'll continue with more competitions."
TeamSOD also started successfully into their home World Games. Today, the German athletes competed for their first placings in track and field and open water swimming.
Annika Meissner achieved a personal best and got awarded silver in the 5,000m run, which makes her the first German medal winner of the Games.
The first gold medal for TeamSOD, on the other hand, came in open water swimming. They took to the water over 1,500 meters at the regatta course in Grünau. Kai-Jürgen Pönisch from Berlin and his teammate Patrizia Spaulding from Baden-Württemberg won the races in their respective performance groups.
If you want to experience the emotional moments and joy of the athletes, here is an approximate schedule of the award ceremonies:
We say congratulations!