Going out with the Dutch sitting volleyball team provides many great stories
Dutch sitting volleyball teams have been traveling abroad for years. That entails quite a bit. Is it different from “normal” traveling with a group of people? Yes. If something happens, it has consequences for the entire group. And with all that “help” (read prosthetics, wheelchairs), materials, balls, etc., you have more to worry about. How do we get them on the plane? Have you ever been given space on an airplane with a prosthesis and you are not allowed to sit near the “emergency exit”. Regulations huh. They put an “elderly person” there and he immediately shouts: “I think such an athlete is faster than me! " Or not? A few stories.
Panic at every airport
Assistive devices include prosthetics. Runs nice and fast. But also through the security gates at the airport? Not so. When those hardware stores walk through the gates, all the bells and whistles go off. Then there is panic. All kinds of security guards run to the gate. An extra search and then a deep sigh. Nothing. And after the first leg amputation, new noise again -😊Not only at Schiphol but also in other countries. From that experience there was only laughter. And with anticipation, with a smile on their face, they look forward to the next moment.
Inspection issues or classification
The concept of classification is well known. Be sure to check out the interviews. Especially in the early years, it was the doctors of the ISMG and ISOD who determined how international sports should be conducted. Also from a rehabilitation perspective. Fortunately, this changed over time, but it is still a hot item at and of the IPC to this day. They believe that everyone should compete against equal athletes, but they need to think more functionally. More in the spirit of the sport. The whims and whims of the medical examiners therefore had to be anticipated. Material: read papers, take photos of specialists to clarify what the disability was of this and that person. But especially if possible, athletes should also be approved at least a year in advance for major events to prevent problems. For example, in 1991 we flew Istvan Plesha, a doctor from Hungary, into a tournament in Hardenberg. He understood our position on classifications and approved so that no problems arose in Barcelona in 1992. Johan Verstappen was examined by a Finnish medical examiner in Serajevo in 1999. When, against expectations, he was called up in Sydney, we were able to convince the Spanish and Australian doctors of the examination and he was able to participate. These doctors, whom we knew well, did not understand that this could happen in the Netherlands. -😉 But unfortunately as mentioned the problem remains. And the IPC still has the disability as its starting point and not the sport. And that doesn't just apply to sitting volleyball
Sitting Volleyball Promotion Foundation
A lot had to be arranged around the Dutch team in the 80s and 90s. Clinics at schools or associations. PR days for disabled sports, clothing for the Dutch team, travel, training, sponsorship, etc. The budget at the association is limited for this. In 1987, John Hilgenholt and Henk Dost created a foundation for this purpose. In this way, sitting volleyball was promoted, sponsors were found, sports promotion projects were started, clinics were linked to advance training for Dutch tams in order to gain extra training hours, trips were organized for small costs, etc. When the gentlemen received an A status from NOC*NSF after achieving silver in Seoul, the money (that the members received individually) is put into the pot to finance training and training- internships at home and abroad. Not that NEBAS was very supporting this, but still. The foundation functioned until 2004.
Immigration office New York 1989
The immigration office in the USA is important for that country. Every time you have to pass that part of the airport to show your passport and visa. Otherwise you won't get in. And you stand in the long line again. Difficult, especially for a group like ours. Until... am I hearing correctly? Mister Dost from Holland Rrrrottink Rrrrreizen please come to the information desk. Actually only noticed after the replay. Our travel agency had ensured that we all didn't have to stand in line and could enter the USA without all the fuss. Compliments for Rottink
Tehran 1990 the Grand Bazaar
Tehran is a large city with 15 million inhabitants. In addition to the competitions, visiting the covered market was also on the program. When we walked through the Tehran Bazaar we were recognized a lot. The matches were broadcast live on IRAN 2. It was busy and we couldn't get through the crowds. Someone from the guidance shouted something and the crowd suddenly dispersed. We could 'walk through' like this. What on earth had they shouted? “War invalids”. And in IRAN that meant heroes from the war.
Abroad is always exciting for the Dutch team. Especially countries like IRAN that you don't know well. That is why the team manager ensured that the Dutch Embassy was also informed of the team's arrival. And not without success. They were invited to drink a glass of “imported apple juice” and eat something Dutch. Alcohol was taboo in IRAN. But apple juice with foam head was a nice change.
team building 1992
Climbing over a bridge, building a raft to get to the other side of the lake, crossing the river together, cycling together (and you could never do that before) just do that. Try to form a close-knit team. Together we are strong. The national coach decided to organize a team building weekend in preparation for the Barcelona Paralympics. After training on Friday evening, the gentlemen thought they were done. But nothing could be further from the truth. The bus was ready to take us from Harfsen to Hengelo, to the rowing boat. From there to Enschede, rowing. On the way, don't go under the bridge but over it. See how you make it. Just strum. From there cycling to a recreational lake. Make sure that those who cannot cycle come along. Just a short night, zipline over the stream and cycle further. To the canoes that were ready in Germany and back via the stream. The breakfast, the warm German rolls we prepared ourselves, tasted good. On Saturday evening we slept in an old school building. Finally back in the van back to Harfsen. And the national coach there: Let's train some more. Teeth gritted and tired back home. What struck the organizer who organized these types of activities for fringe group youth, etc. every week: The ease with which it was picked up. And the players? It looked like a school trip-😊
Isfahan 1993 friends 4ever
When abroad, the players kept their own travel documents with them. A few days before departure, a quick check by the team manager. Everything still complete? Yes of course. Until ? Oops, I can't find my plane ticket anymore. What about your roommate? Does he happen to have this in his locker? Search and search. Cannot be found. What now? Bought a new ticket. $800. Just managed with the help of our Iranian friends. Happy. Check in at the counter. Everyone has their ticket with them? “Hey that's weird” someone shouted. “I have 2 tickets” It turned out that the player involved had not looked closely. Money gone. That's how it seemed. Until we met our friends from IRAN again the following year at the DDO. Their team manager came to me there. They had just filed the story with the airline. I got $800 from him. That's called sports friends!!
Sarajevo 1999
The European Championships for men and women were held simultaneously in 1 city. The teams went with 1 plane. Afterwards it turned out to be a bit too small. The luggage arrived in the city much too late on the next flight. Why? They had not taken into account the fact that a lot of material was needed. Read wheelchairs, crutches, etc. They arrived the next day. After proper consultation, the plane was ordered slightly larger for the return trip and the problem was prevented.

                      Haan, den Renske

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