I look back on my previous participations at the Olympic Games with great pleasure. The encounters of countless athletes from all over the world with different skin colors and denominations is one of the most brilliant existing citizens’ initiatives. We come together with one clearly defined goal: we want to practice our sport successfully and present our sport to the whole world, free of political and cultural constraints.
Although there have been some changes in the world of sports, sport itself or at least those athletes, who care for the community through fairness and self-established rules, preserved a niche of specialty and freedom in this world, which is afflicted by war and natural disasters more than ever.
Jewish citizens could not always enjoy this freedom in some political situations. We have not forgotten the Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936, when Jewish athletes were confronted with the heinous violence of the Nazis. Now a new generation of Jewish athletes returns to Berlin for the competitions of the European Maccabi Games – the city where the murder of their fathers was planned. For us Germany, this is a moving situation. And I am very proud to be the patron for table tennis tournament at this international sports event.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov (*1988) is a table tennis professional and Olympic medal winner as well as German and European Champion.