Berlin, 3 December 2020. The sports landscape in Germany is becoming more and more inclusive: The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Special Olympics World Games has announced with great joy the two demonstration sports for Berlin 2023: Hockey and Rowing. The German Hockey Federation (DHB) and the German Rowing Federation (DRV) are now looking forward to present their sports at the most inclusive sport event in the world.
Natascha Keller is an Olympic hockey champion and recod international player for Germany. She comments on the decision: “For every athlete it is an unforgettable experience to play in front of such a big audience. I know this Olympic feeling, what it means to be part of it. I am convinced that the Special Olympics World Games in my home town of Berlin will have the same impact for all participants and spectators. It is a great chance to Hockey and its clubs in Germany to inspire even more people through the power of sport.”
The positive news was also celebrated by the Special Hockey Team of the Berlin Hockey Federation. One of its players is Kevin Waskowsky, he says: “I am really looking forward to play with my team at the Special Olympics World Games in order to get to know many other players from different parts of the world. The best thing about Hockey is that everyone can try it and it keeps you healthy.”
The Vice President Sports of Special Olympics Germany, Thomas Gindra, was part of the judging panel. He explains: “All applicants were convincing, but eventually Hockey and Rowing were a cut above the others. They are two established sports who have the potential to promote together with Special Olympics the inclusive sports landscape in Germany. We want to set a strong mark so that more and more sports and clubs join the movement of Special Olympics, thus improving the living conditions of people with ID overall.”
The head of the federations reacted very joyful towards the decision of the LOC. Carola Meyer, President of the DHB says: "You can't imagine the joy we all felt when we heard the news that we were able to successfully apply with Hockey ID as a demonstration sport for the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin. It is such an important step to be represented with field hockey in the Special Olympics family!”
Celebrations are not limited to Germany: The president of the International Hockey Federation Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra says: "FIH has a huge commitment towards inclusivity and the news that Hockey ID will be a demonstration sport at the 2023 Special Olympics World Games in Berlin shows the enormous progress that is being made across the international hockey community in this area of our sport. We must acknowledge that, while these are tremendous achievements, we cannot stop here. We must now keep pushing forward, with the support of continental federations and national associations, to ensure that the inclusive nature of Hockey ID is available to hockey communities in every corner of the globe.”
Marijke Fleuren, President of the European Hockey Federation, joins the celebration: “To say I am delighted that Hockey ID gets the chance to participate in the Special Olympics World Games as a demonstration sport would be an understatement. I am thrilled and emotionally touched that our athletes can show their skills on such a platform. They deserve it, as do their parents and fans who have given them 100 per cent support on their journey to participate in our sport.”
Besides the positive reaction of the Hockey world, the President of the DRV, Siegfried Kaidel is also looking forward to the event. He says: „I am very happy, that Rowing will take part in the Special Olympics World Games 2023, that is a strong mark. We would like to encourage everyone who feels appealed to the idea to sign up for the competitions.”