The Paralympics adventure begins on Wednesday for three wheelchair basketball players from Hannover United in the Bundesliga. Captains Jan Haller, Jan Sadler and Tobias Hill are part of the German squad, as well as United boss Martin Kluck (as assistant coach) and Ike Gosling (as team manager) are all coming to Tokyo. The plane takes off from Frankfurt for Japan at 5:45 pm.
The great tension between the challenged athletes is absent so far. Instead, a week before the opening ceremony, the arduous preparations that everyone has is outweighed. “The past few weeks have been very stressful,” Sadler says. “In one week we had up to 27 hours of training.”
Clearly, the hard work has paid off. The United trio is in great shape and ready to start on August 26th. Germany is in the hammer group with the first Paralympic Games winner from the USA, world champion Great Britain, champions of Africa and Algeria as well as Australia and Iran (both reached the World Cup semi-finals). “It will be very difficult, but our goal is to survive in the group to advance to the quarter-finals,” said Haller, the national team captain.
Haller moves on to his experience
The 32-year-old is the captain of the team. He has already been there in London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016). His job in Tokyo: imparting experience, strengthening the team, and taking responsibility in difficult situations. “Everyone looks at him, how he reads things and then takes countermeasures,” Coach Kluck says.
He asks his teammates, Sadler and Hill, exactly what to expect when they compete in the Paralympics for the first time. Haller’s best advice: The whole group should enjoy the time. “Everything is huge. For the first time you go to the huge dining tent, where you can choose from eight kitchens. The atmosphere during the opening ceremony will be very special – albeit unfortunately without spectators this time,” Haller says. Once only”.
The most important thing is not to put undue pressure on yourself. This could also be the key to Hanover. “I have a relaxed aggressiveness inside of me,” Sadler says. Hell too – the team’s youngest athlete at 21 years old – feels comfortable in his role. There won’t be much playtime for him yet. “He has nothing to lose because of it,” Kluck says. “He just has to be ready when asked.”
First of all, he is often challenged when eating. On the team’s debut, he regularly cleaned the dishes. “The whole setup goes like this. Hell says with a smile.
The mood in the team is correct. Also with a former United player and national teammate Joe Bestwick, who left United in February, is crystal clear. “How it ended up at United was not nice,” Haller said. But that is no longer a problem for us.”
The focus is clear: adults should be upset. There might even be a medal in it. “It’s everyone’s dream,” said Haller, who wants to attack after defeats in the quarter-finals in London and Rio.
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