Germany to continue its upward trajectory at Tokyo 2020

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Germany is one of the powers of Paralympic sport. At Rio 2016, he finished sixth in the medal table, with 57 medals – 18 gold, 25 silver and 14 bronze.

While Germany has sent athletes to all Paralympics, in recent years the team has been particularly strong in athletics and cycling, nine and eight gold medals respectively at Rio 2016, the other medal. gold being in paratriathlon; and it is in these areas that they are once again called to excel.

The German Paralympic Team in Tokyo is made up of 134 people and will compete in 18 of the 22 sports, including Para Boccia for the first time.

A total of 43 athletes will make their Paralympic debuts, mostly in para swimming – for eight of the 11 swimmers, this will be their first Games.

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: Heidemarie Dresing

The youngest participant on the team is 16-year-old para-athlete Lise Petersen, while the oldest is 66-year-old dressage para-athlete Heidemarie Dresing. The most experienced athlete is javelin thrower Martina Willing. The 61-year-old made his debut at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games and Tokyo will be his eighth Games.

Potentially the star is Johannes Floors, who won gold in the men’s 4x100m relay in Rio. At a dress rehearsal in Tokyo in June 2021, Floors broke his own men’s world record in the T62 200m, clocking 21.04 seconds at Leverkusen Para Athletics International.

“Breaking the world record is always a great thing,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but running that fast gives me confidence to be even better in Tokyo.”

The floors also go in the 100m T64 and 400m T62. Leon Schaefer, the current T63 long jump world record holder, should also shine.

THE STAR: Markus Rehm

Nicknamed ‘The Blade Jumper’, Markus Rehm is another of the German team’s most recognizable athletes. He will be eager to take Tokyo by storm.

A mark of three Paralympic gold medalists of 8.48 meters is not only a world record, but would have been enough to win gold at the 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Rehm had also won the gold medal in the 4 × 100-meter relay at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

LOOKING FOR A REHEARSAL: Birgit Kober

Birgit Kober, another Rio 2016 gold medalist and still going strong at 50, is privileged to repeat her success in F36, while her colleague shot put Franziska Liebhardt, world record holder in F37, is well placed to reach the top of the leaderboard. podium.

In cycling, Michael Teuber is set to become a national hero again, even at the age of 53. Teuber won gold in the H4 men’s road time trial at Rio 2016, his fifth Paralympic title overall, with more than 20 world titles. .

While on the women’s side, Annika Zeyen has shown excellent form lately. The London 2012 wheelchair basketball gold medalist has seen success in her new sport, winning back-to-back World Championship titles in the H3 road race and is hoping to add another Paralympic title to her resume.

ATTENTION: Annika Zeyen

“Trying to beat the guys one more time, well my life doesn’t depend on that, but it’s good,” Teuber said. “I am also grateful that cycling is a sport where endurance is a major factor. That’s why I can do it at my age.

Martin Schulz, one of the best swimmers in para-triathlon, is also determined to retain his Rio crown. And he’s confident. “For weeks, I have felt in training that things are going really well,” he said in April 2021, after a victory in Rotterdam. “This feeling obviously did not deceive me, I was finally able to prove my great form.”

Where else can they do well? Traditionally, Germany have been strong in horseback riding, table tennis, swimming, women’s wheelchair basketball and judo, and this time around, they have a strong men’s goalball team.

Although these are unlikely to be their best Games – Germany were second in the medal table in 1992 and third in 1996, although overall levels fell from 2000 to 2012 – the improvement performance in Rio suggests they are on an upward curve.

Dr Karl Quade, who is going to the games for the 13th time as chef de mission for the German team, said: “Despite the difficult conditions caused by the corona pandemic, the postponement of the games and the complex qualification, we were able to rebuild a powerful team. Of course, we are going to experience completely different Games with a lot of restrictions and less usability. The happiness and cordiality in the Paralympic Village and the atmosphere at the competition venues, which Paralympic athletes usually only experience in this form at the Games, will certainly be missed. Regardless, we will be incredible because we have well prepared athletes. “


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