The Invacare International Symposium 2011 started at 3 p.m. with the allocution of M. Robert Geerlings, chairman of Amsterdam city sports council who opened the 2011 Symposium held at the Frans Otten Stadium in the lively city of Amsterdam.
Lou Slangen, Sr. VP Corporate Marketing and Chief Product Officer of Invacare Corporation, then gave an inspiring introduction on “Real Life” challenges that Invacare also faces when making people’s life experiences possible. He underlined the high importance of embracing the Invacare “Yes, you can" spirit to achieve your dreams. He shared examples of people he met whose life was made easier and far less challenging thanks to Invacare’s products.
From left to right: Ade Adepitan, Martin McElhatton, Lou Slangen
The new format of the two-hour long Symposium consisted this year of the combination of two brilliant Masters of Ceremony chairing together and offering the audience a very dynamic rhythm, as well as professional and lively interviews. Martin McElhatton who has been our Chairman for four years is also Chief Executive of Wheelpower and President of the International Wheelchair Tennis Association. Ade Adepitan, our new comer this year, is a former wheelchair basketball player in the UK and accomplished actor and television presenter. A perfect duet for this edition of the Symposium which focused on “Real Life” Challenges!
Ade Adepitan and Martin McElhatton - Symposium Chairmen
The Symposium has brought together again this year a group of exciting speakers from the fields of sport management, business and community life, in front of a large audience of about 250 participants. We are glad to have topped the Invacare International Symposium record audience and we would like to thanks all the participants!
Record audience at the Invacare International Symposium 2011
The feedback from the audience was more than positive and everybody enjoyed the talent of the speakers and the interactivity of their speech.
Alain Terno explained the challenges a company such as BNP Paribas faces to support wheelchair tennis promotion effectively. Since 1973, BNP Paribas has kept on sponsoring tennis tournaments and in 1993 the bank started supporting wheelchair tennis with only one goal in mind - developing wheelchair tennis.
Alain Terno and Ade Adepitan
Cees Vervoorn gave a thrilling interview about his position and challenges as as a Paralympics Chef de Mission organising the event so that the athletes can give their best. To him all the athletes have the same dedication and will to be the masters of their own destiny. His challenge is the full acceptance of the Paralympics as part of the Olympic Games programme.
Rainer Küschall talked about his everyday challenge to achieve his numerous goals in life as a company founder, car racer and athlete. Creating and designing küschall wheelchairs was originally to have a wheelchair that suited his active way of life and be light enough to put into the car in an autonomous way. What matters most is positivity, the power of spirit makes you fulfill your dreams and never give up. Athletes learn discipline, respect and self-confidence, which put them forward and new technology and materials help all this come true.
Rainer Küschall and Martin McElhatton
Monique van der Vorst touched the participants while describing how her dreams came true after a great deal of efforts. Monique told us how hand-cycling was initially a way to escape the rehab and then how inspiring it was to represent her country (NL) to the Paralympics in Beijing where she won the silver medal. After a car accident she walks again but for her, challenges made her who she is now, that is to say a strong person enjoying life and who keeps on having dreams – winning the Olympic Games!
Monique van der Vorst
Dennis Gebbink founded the “Only Friends” sport club for disabled people in the Ronald Mc Donald Sports Centre in Amsterdam. His handicapped son Myron is a real inspiration and with the help of the government he contributes to making children and their parents happy. He encourages all the parents who have disabled children to join the club the way they are.
Richard Krajicek, the 1996 Wimbledon winner against Pete Sampras, delighted the audience with a lot of funny and more serious anecdotes about his tennis career and his step-by-step progression. He explained how dedication and not giving up are keys to become a successful athlete.
Richard Krajicek and Ade Adepitan
All in all, we had the chance to hear at six highly motivated and determined persons who definitely managed to inspire each of us to pursue and face our “Real Life” challenges for good.
Laurène Traveau, Symposium coordinator, Invacare - Alain Terno -
Agnès Riquelme, Invacare - Lou Slangen - Richard Krajicek -
Monique van der Vorst - Mark Monteiro, Invacare - Cees Vervoorn -
Robert Geerlings - Dennis Gebbink - First row: Rainer Küschall - Ade Adepitan
All the photos on the page are copyrighted. Photo credit – ©Invacare Doubles Masters 2011 / Mathilde Dusol