Potsdam, Germany – On September 10, 2023, history was made as the city of Potsdam played host to the inaugural “Inklusiv Gewinnt Potsdam” event, an extraordinary celebration of inclusivity and unity through sports. This groundbreaking occasion saw Olympic, Paralympic, and Special Olympics athletes come together, competing side by side. With over 4,000 enthusiastic visitors in attendance at the venue, Sportpark Luftschiffhafen, it was a day filled with remarkable achievements, shared joy, and the promise of a more inclusive future.
The brainchild of Hagen Boßdorf and Torsten Püschel, “Inklusiv Gewinnt” aims to create a platform for inclusive performances and competitions. This year’s premiere event in Potsdam served as a testament to the power of unity, demonstrating that when individuals from all walks of life join forces, remarkable things can happen.
One of the driving forces behind “Inklusiv Gewinnt Potsdam” was none other than Katarina Witt, a renowned figure in the world of figure skating and the event’s patron and main sponsor. Her passionate support for the cause of inclusion was evident in her words:
“Inklusiv Gewinnt has fulfilled all expectations with a great premiere. Athletes and spectators were full of joy today. Inclusion becomes profoundly self-evident when we witness events like today’s at Sportpark Luftschiffhafen in Potsdam, where people with and without disabilities coexisted harmoniously. It is now important to build on this start and to consolidate Inklusiv Gewinnt as well as inclusion itself.”
Julia Govinden, CEO of United Through Sports was invited to the event and witnessed this great event which once again proves that inclusion is not just a noble idea but an achievable and much needed reality, both in and outside of sports. The event’s success was not limited to the sporting arena; it also showcased the power of art and inspiration. Vanessa “Power” Kujawiak, an outstanding world dancer of the young generation joined UTS CEO Julia Govinden at the event, as a newly appointed UTS Young Leader. Vanessa graced the stage with her incredible talent. Her unique style of dance is not just about movement; it’s a form of communication, a means to express dreams, and a way to inspire others.
Julia Govinden said: “It has been absolutely amazing to see this inclusive event come to life. Having our newly appointed UTS Young Leader Vanessa Power travel from Poland to teach, inspire and dance was unforgettable! The energy of the event and dedication from the organisers made for a truly special day where all abilities came together as one. We hope this event will be an annual occurrence and continue to encourage a more inclusive society.”
Vanessa’s story is one of determination, a symbol of the faith of the new generation, and tangible proof that dreams can become reality through unwavering belief and hard work. At the event, she was officially introduced as a United Through Sports Young Leader, joining the ranks of inspirational figures like Paralympic athletes Ezra Frech and Husnah Kukundakwe or the amazing Heer Hitesh, Ugandan swimmer and founder of Angel City Aquatics Foundation.
Vanessa was first introduced to UTS as she was the winner of the Talent Competition of the UTS World Virtual Youth Festival 2021. Vanessa also has a camp where she positively impacts Young lives: the Dream Camp 4 Elements. There, she helps children develop their passions and make their dreams come true by teaching her unique dance skills, but mostly by sharing her values, energy and life philosophy.
All in all, “Inklusiv Gewinnt” was more than just a sports event; it was a celebration of the human spirit, a testament to the power of unity, and a reminder that inclusion is not just a concept but a tangible reality. As we reflect on this historic day in Potsdam, we are inspired by the belief that together, we can build a world where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can thrive, flourish, and feel included. We can’t wait for the second iteration of the event next year!