Aalders talks about his new project with great passion. He himself has Marfan syndrome (connective tissue disorder), but he found his passion in wheelchair basketball. “I’m also sure that sports mean that I visit the hospital or the doctor less often.”
The goal of Sportintro is to exercise the disabled children of Bevelanden between 9 and 19 years old. Preferably in a regular sports club. “We’re going to play korfball, soccer, fitness, archery. Everything will pass. If they want to play wheelchair basketball, of course they will come to me,” said Aalders, coach at RBVM at Middelburg. Children can first learn a sport for four to five weeks and then make a choice.
Mark Aalders became an international in the Dutch wheelchair basketball team, but had to stop in 2016 due to an arm injury. He saw his dream come true: participation in the Paralympic Games.
Sports and exercise help lift children out of social isolation, according to Aalders, who is overseeing the project with Linda Hulstein. With a similar project in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, Aalders succeeded in getting around ten children to play sports. Now, with Sportintro, the focus is more on membership in a regular sports association.
With heart and soul
Aalders is engaged in disabled sports with heart and soul. “I am drawn to anything relating to a disability or a wheelchair. I got a call a few months ago. Parents of a boy with muscle disease. The question was whether I wanted to help because they are new here. I started to work on it. Apply for the right wheelchair, apply for a grant … Now I give her wheelchair skills twice a week. It’s awesome! “