Achim Manfred Blank resigns as chairman of the disability sports department in TSV

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Of: Dennis Bartz

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If I can no longer stand up for my people, then it no longer makes sense to me. © Bartz

Achim – It is quiet at the sports facility Arenkamp in Uphusen. The parking lot is empty, the sports hall is dark and deserted. An elderly gentleman with a dachshund walks on the dike, a bird glides in the cloudless sky. But the idyll is deceptive. A dispute broke out over the sports hall, after which the chairman of the disability sports department in TSV Achim, Manfred Blank, resigned from his position:

“I can see wheelchair sports dying in Achim, after all we’ve built up over the last few years,” he explains as he says goodbye.

His former deputy Nico Röger has taken over Blank’s post on a temporary basis, but also announces his likely resignation: “I’m behind Manfred and I would have liked everyone involved to sit down at a table and talk to each other. I will keep an eye on developments for another two weeks. Today, however, I have little hope and see no future. “

Background: At the end of March, the Verden district declared that it would again use the Arenkamp sports hall as a refugee accommodation for around 100 people after 2015/2016. Everything has to go very fast. Camp beds had to be set up within a few days – the sports clubs therefore had to leave the hall immediately.

It’s been five weeks since then – but nothing has happened yet. And that annoys the approximately 40 wheelchair basketball and rugby players who lack the training and playing facilities without Arenkamp sports hall. Because a suitable alternative quarters than Replacement for the only barrier-free sports hall in Achim there is none. The basketball players even had to unsubscribe from their team one game day before the end of the season: “You are now threatened with a fine. The last home game was scheduled for April 24, so afterwards it was not necessary to act so quickly because the hall is still free, “criticizes Manfred Blank and adds:” We also lost about 4,000 euros in sponsorship money because there are no competitions . Our sport here in Achim is almost dead, but the hall is still empty. ”

He also maintains the view that the gymnasium of the high school would be better suited to people from Ukraine: “It is of a comparable size, contrary to what the city administration says, it has enough washing places and is also more central: from Uphusen people walk half an hour into town. That’s a long way to go. ”

The neck times in Achim are known to be tight, so a satisfactory solution is not yet in sight. “First we were offered Lahofhalle. But Renovation costs would be too high been. A mobile basketball hoop alone costs around 10,000 euros, ”Manfred Blank mentions as an example. The hall in the Realschule was also quickly out of order.

Nico Roeger and Manfred Blank
Nico Röger and Manfred Blank © Bartz

Due to lack of alternatives, the high school gymnasium finally came into focus and needs to be rebuilt for it. There are still problems with access, among other things, explains Katrin Wetjen, sports manager for the wheelchair basketball section and herself an active athlete: “There are two roads to the sports hall, but none of them are suitable for wheelchair users – a dirt road with bigger rocks and a ramp that is too steep. “

Although attempts have been made to transform the shower and toilet into handicap-friendly, explains Nico Röger, the work was not done professionally: “The will was certainly there, but it was apparently not the professional competence. “

Katrin Wetjen emphasizes that after all the renovation work has been completed, the hall is suitable for training, but not for basketball matches: “The There is not enough space for the athletes to roll out out of. In addition, the substitutes and the timekeeper have no place. ”

On the one hand, Manfred Blank and Nico Röger are annoyed that Achim town offered the district sports hall at Arenkamp without involving the clubs in the decision. “An unexpectedly quick shot,” Blank believes.

On the other hand, he and Röger are dissatisfied with the times allocated to them by the responsible working group Achimer Sportvereine (AAS) in the high school hall. “Even though we had informed them in advance exactly what we were addicted to, they simply gave us the last available times, namely Thursdays from 20:00 to 22:00 – they are absolutely unsuitable for us,” says Blank angrily, who saw unleashed his anger an email to the city of Achim and AAS vented as he admits: “I have behavior like ‘naughty’ and ‘ignorant’ referred to – and then no longer received an answer. Therefore, TSV Achim even forbade me to continue communicating on behalf of the department. But if I can no longer stand up for my people, then it no longer makes sense to me, “Blank continued, emphasizing that his resignation was final.

Nico Röger criticizes the way Manfred Blank is treated: “On a trusting level, clear words must sometimes be allowed. Manfred was the leader of it all. He embodies all that is often lacking in volunteer work today. ” That is also the opinion of Katrin Wetjen, who says: “We are losing a strong man.”

The basketball player explains why the planned training times are problematic: “About half of our players are dependent on wheelchairs. Everything takes longer with them. Going to the toilet alone can take an hour, ”Wetjen continues.

To make matters worse, some of the athletes do not come from Achim and therefore have to travel long distances of more than 45 minutes, usually need to bathe at home and are often in bed well after midnight. It is not compatible with the fact that, due to their limitations, they often have to get up again around five o’clock to be at work on time. “In my opinion, there is a lack of acceptance of people with disabilities in the distribution of halt times,” criticizes Nico Röger, who also calls for more training times: “We have two hours, in fact we have to have four a week for them. Wheelchair basketball and rugby players, an additional three hours for training the national players. Achim is a base and we have made the city known nationwide with our sport. ” He and Manfred Blank thank TSV Achim for allowing the athletes to train more internally on Monday.

The responsible department head in Achim town, Steffen Zorn, announced that talks would be held between the administration and AAS this week following questions from the district newspaper. Then a solution must be sought. The city chose Arenkamp sports hall, among other things due to this is the only one without school sports is, so angry. He also defends the decision that the clubs had to leave the hall so early. It is not clear when it will be necessary, and the refugees can not be allowed to sleep in the bus.

Nico Röger rejects this argument and emphasizes: “Our criticism is not about the accommodation of refugees, which must be guaranteed. In our opinion, however, it would have been better if we could use the hall until it is needed or the hall at the high school has been renovated. That would not have been a problem for us Sports hall must be vacated within two hours. “

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