Judith Sonnenschein is competing at the National Games in vaulting. With 8 years she is our youngest athlete. And for sure: her name "Sonnenschein" - which means "sunshine" in German - is just perfect for her!
Done. Judith Sonnenschein is overjoyed when she completed her exercises on the horse. She dismounts, starts running and quickly lines up again next to the other athletes of her club.
Everyone is happy that she has completed her almost one-minute routine with flying colors. She is the last starter from her team of the Reit- und Pony-Club Düsseldorf e.V. (RPC) this morning at Unified Vaulting.
Judith is a very special athlete at the National Games in Berlin: she is our youngest participant. She came to Berlin together with her team and father Peter Sonnenschein.
"It is nice here," she says after the competition, happy and cuddling up close to her father. He explains how the eight-year-old came to vaulting.
It all started with equine-based occupational therapy. "She really enjoyed it. And at some point she shouted 'faster, faster' and we realized that she should definitely keep doing it," says Peter Sonnenschein.
Looking out for each other, achieving something together, that's what Judith learns from vaulting.
Judith started vaulting in May 2021, and at the end of last year the idea of preparing her for the National Games came up.
"She has been training once or twice a week for that," says her father. For him, the sport is important and, above all, that his daughter is part of a team. "This togetherness is good for everyday life. Looking out for each other, achieving something together, that's what Judith learns from vaulting," he says.
In the spirit of Unified Sports®, his daughter's team includes athletes with and without disabilities: "Everyone is who they are, and together they are successful."
Judith competes in two Unified Team competitions and has been busy all week. She also went to watch table tennis, handball and bocce with her father - that's all the time she had.
Except... Peter Sonnenschein asks his daughter what else she liked in Berlin. She shakes her head and won't say. "It was the athletes' party at the Brandenburg Gate," he says. "Do you like to dance?" Judith smiles and a long and happy "yeeeeeeees" follows.
A part of Judith's performance can be watched here: