Four women train for the Special Olympics

For the first time in Krefeld
Lebenshilfe athletes train for Special Olympics

Four volunteers from Lebenshilfe Krefeld will take part in the Baden-Württemberg state “Special Olympics” in Mannheim in July. The young women train diligently to achieve good placements.

Always around: In the small park at the end of Bischofstraße, Anna, Claudia, Sina and Silke are currently practicing diligently on their bikes for a special competition. Because the clients of Lebenshilfe Krefeld will take part in the Baden-Württemberg State “Special Olympics” in Mannheim in July. They are the first athletes from Lebenshilfe Krefeld to make their way to the big event. There, people with intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities compete in various sports, some sports are also inclusive.

The cyclists are divided into homogeneous performance groups: “Classification is an important prerequisite for fair competitions and therefore a basic component of the Special Olympics sports concept. As a result, there is a comparable level of performance within the divided teams,” say the Mannheim organizers. And the level of performance is also important when training in the Silk City. Silke was brought back earlier this Sunday from the parents’ weekend. Right after lunch. Because she wants to get going again quickly: Training for the Special Olympics is important to her. “I’m really looking forward to Mannheim,” she says and smiles. Then she checks her bike in the garden of the apartment building.

In the meantime, roommate Sina has also come outside: “Do you have an air pump?” Silke asks. No, Sina doesn’t have one. “Head coach” Henrik von Bihl then provides a second helping of air. The Lebenshilfe employee quickly checks the bike of the spirited Claudia, who has just arrived, and pumps it up with his yellow “Joe Blow”. Every woman has a different bike – the amateurs just use what’s available.

Together they make their way to their training course and master the first difficulty in the underpass from Werkstättenstraße to the other side of the railway tracks. It’s so narrow and confusing here that the girls push their bikes over the narrow footpath to be on the safe side. They barely manage to do this without stepping onto the sometimes heavily used road. But the cyclists already know that. Because they started training in the spring. This Sunday is already the fourth unit.

Anna, Silke and Sina live in the colourful, inclusive house on Werkstättenstraße, which was opened three years ago as a cooperation project with the Krefeld residence. Henrik von Bihl and Katrin Schmidt both work here. The fourth in the group, Claudia, lives independently in an apartment in the city center. She rides her bike regularly: This Sunday she cycled from the city to Linn to the flea market, then to Oppum, on to Uerdingen and now to the training course. Henrik von Bihl and Katrin Schmidt have developed a fixed routine for this: The four of them ride a few laps to warm up, then do their stretching exercises on the meadow and complete their kilometers. For Anna, Silke and Sina the goal is five kilometers. So they ride ten laps first, take a little break, then do another seven laps. If you still have the desire and strength, you can compete in the time trial.

17 laps are the measure: one lap 300 meters – 17 laps 5100 meters. And with five kilometers, Anna, Silke and Sina can qualify for the competition. Depending on the pace, they are divided into the different groups, whose members compete against each other. Claudia, who has so much practice, will be assigned to the group with ten kilometers in Mannheim. The motto of the training program: “We want to get everything under one roof,” says von Bihl. So technology – how do I best start? Then constancy – “The women should find their own pace”, and fitness – “They should divide their strength in such a way that they can pick up a little more speed in the end.” cycled indoors. So far, however, the quartet has not had to dodge.

The temperaments of the women can be seen in the driving style. The lively Claudia likes to overtake the others – and sometimes has to accept a detour across the meadow. “Claudia is ambitious,” said the coach. Sina, who also proves to be the most agile of all during the stretching exercises, has a very soft, supple and even style on her red bike: “It wasn’t strenuous at all,” she says. After a few laps she even manages to forget the anger of the morning for a short time and to leave it behind in the headwind. Silke shows poise and self-confidence with her straight back. She often goes on bike trips with her parents and is certain: “I can do it!”

A few more training sessions have to be completed before the wheels are polished to a shine. Then they come to a trailer that Silke’s father provides. The Haus St. Peter der Lebenshilfe lends the bus to the ambitious team, and the foundation covers the lion’s share of the costs. And on July 12th we will be on our way to Mannheim.

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