First medal for Paralympians in shooting

Germany won its first medal in this year's Paralympic Games on Thursday after triumphing in the air rifle shooting. Manuela Schmermund had already bagged a silver medal in the Beijing Paralympics, and gold in Athens.

First medal for Paralympians in shooting
Photo: DPA

Schmermund, 40, quashed almost all the opposition in the 10 metre shooting category, coming in second behind Chinese champion Zhang Cuiping, who holds the category world record. In third place was Australian Nathalie Smith.

“I was as nervous as if it had been the first time,” said Schmermund after winning. A native of Hessen, central Germany, Schmermund is a paraplegic. She is a member of the Mengshausen shooting club.

An experienced air rifle shooter, Schmermund is no stranger to Paralympic victories – winning both gold and silver medals in past competitions. For this win, she not only took home a medal but also €5,000.

If it had been a gold medal, Schmermund would have taken home €7,500 – just half of the €15,000 gold medallists in the traditional Olympics receive.

German paraplegic sprinter Heinrich Popow said recently that he understood why Paralympians received less prize money.

“We have neither the basis of mass sports participation from which high-performance sports arises, nor do we have a comparable competitive situation,” he told Die Welt daily.

He added that “we do not yet belong up where the athletes of the Olympic Games are.” The 29-year-old had his lower leg amputated as a child after developing bone cancer.

“The pressure is just as intense and we have gained the same respect as Olympic athletes, but not the same status,” he told the paper.

The win puts the German team in seventh place. It finished in eleventh place in the Beijing Paralympics, and Schmermund hopes that London will be an equally successful, if not better, performance.

Germany sent over 152 athletes this year, 88 male and 64 female. Around 4,200 people from 164 countries are competing in the games, which officially started on Wednesday and will run until September 9th.

DPA/The Local/jcw

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German football club ends partnership with Russia’s Gazprom

German football club Schalke 04 announced Monday it had prematurely ended its partnership with Russian gas giant Gazprom following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German football club ends partnership with Russia's Gazprom

The deal between the second-tier German club and Gazprom had been due to run until 2025 with Schalke receiving around €9 million ($10 million) per year in sponsorship.

Had the Gelsenkirchen-based club won promotion back to the Bundesliga at the end of this season, the sponsorship figure would have risen to €15 million annually.

Schalke had already removed the Gazprom logo from their shirts for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Karlsruhe.

In a statement, Schalke said their finances were “unaffected by this decision”.

“The club’s management is confident that it will be able to present a new partner in the near future.”

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Gazprom representative Matthias Warnig resigned from the club’s supervisory board last Thursday.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, interim president of the German Football Association (DFB), had already hinted there could be financial aid for Schalke if they split from Gazprom.

“If this requires the solidarity of other clubs in Germany to get them out of this situation, then we have to discuss how we can manage that,” Watzke told ZDF.

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