We have conducted interviews with the two appointed athletes, asking several questions to provide insights into their backgrounds and motivations for undertaking the ambassadorial role.
It is time to meet our second ambassador: Juergen SCHRAPP (GER)
Juergen SCHRAPP (GER)
For those of our followers who don’t know you yet, could you please introduce yourself briefly – why and how did you start with sitting volleyball?
I was playing Volleyball in my city club and had no idea about Paravolley – then I got to know about Paravolley I first started of with Standing Volleyball but then quickly fell in love with Sitting Volleyball and competed the first time with the German National Team in the 1993 European Championships.
What are your first memories from the sport and your biggest achievements so far?
I still remember this first European Championship in Finland very well and it created the spark to achieve more and focus my life on it so after I was done with school I moved to Leverkusen to have the best possible training environment and also to get into regular competitions in the Dutch Sitting Volleyball League which Leverkusen joint in 1994. Biggest achievement so far is to have had the chance to participate in six Paralympics and win the Bronze medal in 2012 in London.
Goals for the future?
Participate in the 2024 Paris Paralympics and then help to build an even better Paravolley organization for future athletes, referees, classifiers and all other people involved in our great sport.
Congratulations on your new role. Why did you accept the role of PVE Ambassador?
I had the privilige to play 30 years Sitting Volleyball on top level. This is only possible because there are people organizing our sport with lots of passion on a voluntary basis. Now I get closer to the end of my athlete career I want to switch gears and help to shape our sports into the future.
What does it mean to you being a PVE Ambassador and how do you see your duties?
PVE has done many great things in the last years increasing the number of competitions for women and men on a club and national team level. I believe that there are learnings in it also for other WPV zones and at the same time PVE can learn best practices from other zones as well. I want to help orchestrate that dialog also adding my players perspective to the discussion.
In which areas do you believe your experience and expertise as part of the sitting volleyball world, could help for the further development of the sport?
Playing for so many years I have had to chance to learn a lot about Paravolleyball and the needs of athletes. I want to help that we continue developing our sport around those needs as the aim always has to be so serve the athletes.
Why is it important to “act as a bridge” within the European community and connect Europe with other zones?
Paravolleyball is still a small community compared with other Olympic and Paralympic sports. Learning from each other and supporting each other is the foundament of further growth for our sport.
What do think of the PVE community evolution over the last few years (therefore, keep on working there)? Is there a room for improvement and in which areas?
As stated erlier the growth and development of PVE in the last years has been impressive and still we aim higher. The biggest opportunity of our sport is still the inclusive competition of disabled and non-disabled people – maybe this is bit more challenging in Standing Volleyball but in Sitting Volleyball we are a fully inclusive sport where once we are moving on the floor there is no difference. This is a great opportunity to attract more players but also to create more public attention for our wonderful sport as inclusion is a big focus area in society right now. Also further growing new disciplines like Beach Volleyball offers a great opportunity. When it comes to our newly established competition system we need to create better foresight on hosts of different competitions so that teams can plan their travel budgets for the next year to come.
One message to our followers – active players, athletes considering taking up the sport and fans?
Reach out and raise your voices for your needs – only then a co-creation of the future of our sport is possible
Thank you to our two Ambassadors, we look forward to hearing all about their actions in the future.