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Roll’n’Ball at the Paralympics 2012:
„We Give Everything and Do Our Best”
Wheelchair basketball has always been his cup of tea. Even as a pedestrian Dirk Passiwan liked doing this fast sport. Since he has been diagnosed with arthritis he supports the German national team with his effort – like four years ago in Beijing he also this time takes part in the Paralympic Games in London.
Dirk Passiwan; © Passiwan
What is so special on the Summer Games, what he would change about them and why team sport is so important for him – that’s what the wheelchair basketball player told us on REHACARE.de.
REHACARE.de: Mr. Passiwan, now it won’t be long until the Paralympics in London start. How do you feel about this?
Dirk Passiwan: It is of course a great experience for me, actually the biggest. But because I have experienced it four years ago, I am not very nervous.
REHACARE.de: Because of health reasons, it was not clear for a long time whether you will participate in the games or not. What was happening?
Dirk Passiwan: I had problems with my elbows. The doctors suspected an arthrosis but they could eliminate the risk. So I can finally take part in the Paralympics.
REHACARE.de: How often do you train now until the Paralympics?
Dirk Passiwan: Right before the Paralympics I am training five to six times per week, two hours per day. Additionally I work out in the gym one time per week. Because the national team is spread all over Germany, mostly I train with my team in Trier. Only every week or two I meet other international players for training.
REHACARE.de: You play basketball since your 14th year of life. Before that you have played football. What made you change your mind and choose basketball?
Dirk Passiwan: My father sits in a wheelchair and has been playing wheelchair basketball for as long as I can think. That is why I have been doing this sport even as a pedestrian. It has always fascinated me because it is the fastest disabled sport. You need a lot of skill and strength to win trough the opponent and to score points. Since 2005, I am officially in the German national team. As a pedestrian I could only participate in national tournaments.
He is on the ball - at the European Championship 2011 Dirk Passiwan (middle) gave his best for the German national team; © Passiwan
REHACARE.de: What role does your team play for you?
Dirk Passiwan: The Immovesta Dolphins Trier were founded by my father Otmar Passiwan with great difficulties, so my team is very important for me. It is also in my hometown. For one year I was the trainer of the team.
REHACARE.de: What are your hopes for the Paralympics2012?
Dirk Passiwan: It is difficult to expect something. Many good teams will take part – from England, Canada, USA and Australia. We are ready for difficult tournaments, but of course we give everything as a team and do our best.
REHACARE.de: How is the structure of the competition?
Dirk Passiwan: The teams are divided into eight groups of six teams. We need to overcome five group games and we need to be one of the first four if we want to go through.
REHACARE.de: What distinguishes the Paralympic Games from other tournaments?
Dirk Passiwan: At the Paralympics you meet, of course, many different nations and see different sports. Also the media interest is very large - the games and tournaments will be broadcasted live eight hours a day. This is missing for small tournaments or league games. Far too little people are interested in sports for the disabled, only a few even know that there are such tournaments for the disabled athletes. Also in other countries, the media attention is too low. I wish it would be different.
Full effort on the pitch - unfortunately, the media interest for the dynamic sport is still small; © Passiwan
The interview was conducted by Michalina Chrzanowska.