August 1, 2021

70 years of the German Disabled Sports Association – “Goal still far from being achieved”

Even the Chancellor has congratulated: The German Disabled Sports Association (DBS) is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It was founded on July 4, 1951. “A lot has happened in the 70 years,” said DBS President Friedhelm Julius Beucher in the Dlf. “That is a full 70 years, which have meant that our competitive athletes are financially on par with the Olympic athletes, that our amateur athletes can fall back on many clubs and halls, and that the regular sports clubs have also opened up.”

Beucher, however, criticizes the still lack of accessibility. “Many would like to do sport, but cannot because they cannot get into the halls. That is a challenge. If you then consider that more than 56 percent of people with disabilities do not do sport, it is not just not Want to do sport, but also not be able to do sport. “

(dpa / Britta Pedersen)“Sport is often not accessible and not barrier-free”
The federal government’s participation report shows that more than every second person with a disability never does sport. VdK President Verena Bentele sees the lack of accessibility of the sports facilities and a lack of sports facilities for people with disabilities as the main reasons.

In order to improve participation, Beuche primarily relies on the regular sports clubs. “There are many great examples where normal gymnastics and sports clubs also set up disabled sports departments.” In addition, Beucher relies on the role model function of competitive athletes in order to break down any mental hurdles in amateur athletes. “They show what is possible.”

Three important milestones

Beucher also mentions the further development of para-competitive sports as an important milestone for DBS over the past 70 years. If only family members used to come to the events, today para-sport would also appear on radio, television and print. Beucher also said: “We are still a long way from achieving what we want. There is still a lot of room for improvement for reporting on an equal footing.”

Another milestone is the recognition of para-sport in the political public. “The constantly evolving decision-making position of the German Bundestag in matters of disabled sports, the provision of appropriate funds and, in parallel, the benefits from the budgets of the federal states, that is an important step.”

The President of the German Disabled Sports Association, Friedhelm Julius Beucher, after a rally on Pariser Platz in Berlin.  (dpa / picture alliance / Soeren Stache) (dpa/picture alliance/Soeren Stache)“We are pandemic victims”
The Paralympics can only take place if this is justifiable in terms of health, said Friedhelm Julius Beucher, President of the German Disabled Sports Association in the Dlf. In general, disabled sports in Germany are currently in a “terrible situation”.

As a third important point, Beucher mentions the development of membership numbers. The number of members has fallen from more than 600,000 to 511,000 due to the pandemic. “But I say: at least 511,000 members in the German Disabled Sports Association. That is a great achievement over the past 70 years.”

Rehm fights to participate in the Olympic Games

In order to set an example for inclusion and Paralympic sport, the para-long jumper Markus Rehm (Leverkusen) is fighting for his participation in the Olympic Games in a separate evaluation. He surpassed the norm set for this by 40 centimeters. The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and the German Athletics Association (DLV) support Rehm’s concerns towards the IOC.

“The IOC can actually no longer decide otherwise due to its own resolution,” said Beucher. “The IOC is calling for more inclusion. That can end well this time and Markus Rehm is about to compete as a Paralympic athlete in an Olympic competition. Markus Rehm is about being there and showing that inclusion in the Olympic Games possible and that he does not take anything away from anyone outside of the rating. “

Rehm is a “big player in the Paralympic sports world,” said Beucher. “This is one of the reasons why it is logical that if the formal requirements have actually been met, the IOC can now say yes to participation.”