Hückeswagen/Wermelskirchen Three fights, three victories: The young judoka from the Hückeswagen judo club Mifune impressed at the competitions in Berlin. The Wermelskirchener had just overcome a corona infection.
Ben Musaeus had been waiting for his big mission for almost a week. In the other sports, the winners had already been chosen, at the Special Olympics in Berlin athletes had achieved great triumphs and had to put up with defeats. On the penultimate day, the judoka were finally allowed onto the mat. “And for the first time I noticed a trace of nervousness in Ben,” says father and trainer Jörg Musaeus. While he actually has his sweaty hands before the competition as a trainer, Ben usually gets up, pats his face briefly, jumps up energetically and then starts on the mat. This time it was different: the closer his assignment came, the more nervous the 20-year-old seemed to get – despite the countless competitions in the past and the many titles that the young judoka has already won.
But the conditions before the competition were anything but easy this year: Less than ten days before Ben Musaeus wanted to set off for Berlin with his father, the rapid test showed a positive result. “Corona”, says Jörg Musaeus. The infection tied the young man from Wermelskirchen, who competes for JC Mifune from Hückeswagen, to bed for a few days. And after that he had to hold back on training. “We had to slow him down a bit because he wanted to start again immediately,” says the father. But after all, his son’s health has always been the most important thing. So the judoka took a break – just before the competition. “In the end it was a precision landing,” says Jörg Musaeus. The negative test result allowed the 20-year-old and his parents to travel to Berlin for the opening of the Special Olympics on June 19.
4500 athletes with and without disabilities fought for the titles in a total of 20 sports at the national summer games – right in the middle was the successful judoka from Bergisches Land. “It was a special atmosphere,” say Ben and Jörg Musaeus, “like small Olympic Games”. The enthusiasm for sports could be felt throughout the city. When they sat in the restaurant in the evening, they were asked about their participation in the summer games. “Everyone was very interested, that really motivated us,” says Jörg Musaeus.
The young athlete then took this motivation with him to the mat: on Thursday morning he received sporting support – another judoka with Down syndrome offered him to warm up together on the mat. He cheerfully carried the bag for the athlete from Wermelskirchen, massaged his neck and tied his belt. “It was just nice how the two set off,” says Jörg Musaeus.
And in the end, the excitement disappeared: Ben had hardly stepped onto the mat when he had defeated his opponent. “Each of the three fights barely lasted 30 seconds,” says Jörg Musaeus. Spectators who had made their way into the hall were amazed. “The joy was huge afterwards,” say father and son.
Ben Musaeus was finally awarded the gold medal in front of a large audience – a success for the Bergisches Land as well. “He’s been training with us for years now,” recalls trainer Eddy Tscheschlog, trainer and chairman of the Mifune judo club. “He’s one of the most dedicated and strongest judoka.” It’s great to see how the athletes with and without disabilities strengthen each other’s backs in the club. The Musaeus family recently brought a young athlete from Ukraine to the training session. “We don’t speak the same language,” Eddy Tscheschlog, “but we don’t have any problems communicating in sports.”
In the meantime, Ben Musaeus has returned home with his family. He has been working in a horse stable in Odenthal for the past year. At that time, his family had started an appeal because Ben was looking for a mini-job outside of the workshops for people with disabilities. After a television report, several companies came forward with offers and Ben decided on the riding school. “He’s really happy there,” says Jörg Musaeus. He enjoys the family atmosphere, working close to the animals and often in the open air. After the work is done, it’s time to go home to the judo mat. It’s his element, after all.