Touch of inspiration from champ

 
Around 15 athletes, including State and national junior champions, lined up along with their coach V R Beedu  at the Sree Kanteerava stadium to felicitate World javelin throw champion Steffi Nerius, who is one of the coaches of the German athletics team. “It is a motivation for all these children,” Beedu said, pointing to his wards.

Sprinter Nirupama Sunderraj greeted Steffi with flowers while the 37-year-old obliged the former’s request for an autograph. Steffi, who won the gold medal at the Berlin World Championships in August, quickly left to watch her trainee Jorg Frischmann compete in shot put.

German team’s physio Uli Niepoth, who was also present, explained the grit and determination exemplified by his athletes. “It is your duty to help children with disability. Only if you give the disabled athletes unrelenting support will they excel in sports,” said Niepoth.

Uli is married to shot putter Michaela Floeth, who lost her right leg due to bone cancer.
David Behra, a 23-year-old double amputee, then gave an inspiring lecture. “I lost my two legs after a train accident two years ago. I took athletics only six months back and now I am happier than earlier,” David said.

“We all train with the normal athletes and that helps us to improve our speed and competitive edge,” he added.

Awed by the competitive spirit of these athletes,  Nirupama, the national junior sprint champion, said. “It’s very motivating. Not only the Germans but all the athletes in the IWAS tell the story of grit and determination. If you compare these athletes with us we are doing nothing. So from today I am going to put that extra effort to achieve success.”

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