On the road to the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024!
Gerald van Grunsven was born in 1964 with the genetic disorder Hemophilia. Especially the arthrosis, one of the possible effects of Hemophilia, in the important joints such as knees and elbows is a huge problem and limitation for Gerald. Gerald kept trying to maximise his body’s capacity. Despite the inherent pain, it made his muscles around the vulnerable joints as strong as possible.
As a 10-year-old boy, Gerald discovered a sport that he could do very well: table tennis! But when he was a teenager, he could hardly play table tennis anymore due to physical limitations. In that period, he started coaching a youth team and was thus able to remain involved in his much-loved sport. From 1988 onwards, Gerald could play again thanks to a new medicine. He was very happy to be able to play table tennis again.
In 2013, Gerald’s knee went very bad for the first time and a difficult time started. After he eventually had a knee replacement, Gerald had to learn to walk again and learn to cycle again on a recumbent trike. His knee was moving up and down better than ever thanks to the knee prosthesis. Unfortunately, the left-to-right movements during table tennis were not possible with the prosthesis and playing table tennis while standing would no longer be an option for Gerald. But Gerald would never give up playing table tennis, and if he couldn’t do it standing up, he would play in a wheelchair.
So in July 2014, six months after Gerald received his knee prosthesis, his adventure as a wheelchair table tennis player began. Of course, this was not easy, because learning to play table tennis again from a totally different position is a huge challenge. Gerald was immediately scouted in July 2014 to come and train one hour a week with the paralympic selection at top sports center Papendal in the Netherlands. When Gerald was accepted into the Dutch Centre for Top Sport and Education (called CTO) in 2016 it was clear: the journey to the Paralympic Games had begun!
Since August 2021 Vicair is a proud sponsor of Gerald. His big goal is: to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris 2024!