4 February 2000
University of Heidelberg Honours Outstanding Sporting Achievements
Vice-rector Prof. Dr. Jochen Tröger awarded prizes to champions from Heidelberg's joint University and College of Education squad at the German Higher-Education ChampionshipsHeidelberg traditionally one of the most successful university teams
Credit where credit's due. Today's prize-giving ceremony in honour of the outstanding performers from the joint University and College of Education squad representing Heidelberg at the German Higher Education Championships had to wait till the new millennium to take place but it was certainly a case of better late than never. At a ceremony in the "bel étage" of the Old University vice-rector Prof. Dr. Jochen Tröger congratulated nearly 70 of Heidelberg's outstanding young sportsmen and women who covered themselves with glory at the German Higher Education Championships in 1998 and 1999.
"A prizegiving ceremony is always a festivity," said Tröger at the beginning of the ceremony, "in our case an academic festivity." He expressed his gratification that the highly successful Heidelberg squad should be made up of students both from the University and the College of Education. "As such it is a concerted effort well worthy of emulation in other fields," he said, "a form of cooperation that we tend to avail ourselves of much too rarely." Prof. Tröger encouraged his audience not to restrict their cooperation to the sporting field, urging the University and College of Education students to take advantage of the outstanding educational opportunities provided on both sides of the Neckar. The vice-rector congratulated the young sports cracks on their achievements, emphasising the personal sacrifices that such outstanding performance invariably involves. "You have enhanced the image of Heidelberg as a place to study," he said.
Heidelberg front-runner in the 1998 ranking
The large number of students celebrated at the ceremony reflects Heidelberg's high level of achievement in the field of sport. In the 1998 cross-university ranking Heidelberg took first place, thus maintaining a tradition of excellence of very long standing. Heidelberg has always been up among the leaders at the German university and college championships. The teams honoured at the ceremony were the women's basketball and handball teams, the men's and women's teams in the fencing squad (épée) and the men's hockey team.
Among the individual champions in their various disciplines were Michael Cornelius (gymnastics), Friederike Dürr (épée), Oliver Geier (200 metres), Gunnar Pfingsten (shot-put, nominated for the University Olympics 1999) and Jan Steinmetz (rowing).
Prospects for the coming year
The first university champion from Heidelberg this year is Stefan Jakoby (foils). The next higher-education championships are due on 24 June when it will be up to the judo team to floor their rivals. On July 1/2 the basketball championships will be taking place, followed a week later by handball.
Heidelberg University's Institute of Sport and Sport Science looks forward confidently to these contests, not least because of the new gymnasium and indoor sports complex now at their disposal. These new facilities bring with them a number of long-desired training improvements, a fact which the organisers hope will be reflected in the performance of the Heidelberg sport students.
Photo: Philipp Rothe
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