Special Olympics debut in The Hague with Beach Volleyball demo
News from the CEV
The Hague/Scheveningen, Netherlands, June 2, 2012. Athletes selected by Special Olympics the Netherlands joined this afternoon a special demo whereby Europe’s Volleyball family followed up on the partnership that was recently entered with the ambitious goal to support the activities and inclusion of athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Although the Beach Volleyball program was introduced quite recently in the Netherlands, still four players – Elke Messelink, Joris Geerts, Erik Hilderink and Reinier van Gestel – enjoyed the unique opportunity to showcase their skills and enthusiasm for the sport playing in front of the crowded stands of the magnificent centre court set up right by the beach of Scheveningen.
They normally play Volleyball having one training session a week that lasts for one and a half hour as revealed by their mentor Norbert de Beer. Playing for the club Twente ’05 which is based in Amsterdam, they really impressed the Dutch fans, thereby testifying once again the major role that sport can play to support and encourage the inclusion of people suffering from intellectual disabilities.
“This weekend we have some 2’000 athletes that are competing in the south of the Netherlands for our national games” said a Dutch official, “with the most popular disciplines being swimming, football, athletics, and gymnastics. We nevertheless hope that more and more will start playing Volleyball as well as Beach Volleyball and that the Netherlands will join the next edition of the World Games that is coming up in Los Angeles in some 4 years with some athletes competing also in these sports”.
The money donated by private citizens as well as by some multi-national companies is supporting the many actions and activities promoted by the Special Olympics here in the Netherlands, thereby compensating for the lack of public funding. Last year, as they went to Athens for the last edition of the World Games, every athlete and member of the so-called Team NL was requested to collect a sum of 1’000 € to make sure that all costs resulting from their participation were duly covered.
Walking around dressed in special jerseys provided by their sponsor, Elke, Joris, Erik and Reinier were happy to have a look around and get some insights from behind the scenes of the European Championship Final. They also got the privilege to feel the atmosphere of the centre court and the passion of the local fans, sharing the reasons why they have opted for Volleyball among the many other sports promoted by the Special Olympics. “We just like the teamwork, the fact that you do not play alone but you share your time and fun with other people” stresses Elke. With this attitude she has already won her own share of glory, in and off the court.
To know more about these athletes and their activities, visit the website www.twente05.nl