Edina Müller – from wheelchair basketball glory to para-canoe success?

German Paralympic wheelchair basketball champion sets her sights on competing in para-canoe at Rio 2016. 06 Apr 2015
After retiring from wheelchair basketball in 2014, Edina Müller has turned her attention to para-canoing

After retiring from wheelchair basketball in 2014, Edina Müller has turned her attention to para-canoing

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By Josef Opfermann | www.deutsche-paralympische-mannschaft.de

Edina Müller celebrated her biggest success at the London 2012 Paralympic Games when she and her teammates won the wheelchair basketball gold medal, beating Australia in the final.

After retiring from wheelchair basketball in 2014 the 31-year-old looked for a new challenge.

“I’ve had a folding boat and a small kayak together with my boyfriend for quite some time, and we often take to the water with them,” said Müller who was not thinking about taking up para-canoe as a high performance sport until a friend – a racing canoeist – gave her the idea.

“He invited me to the national training centre in Halle last summer to try a race kayak.”

National coach Mathias Neubert, also head coach of the local club in Halle, observed her and encouraged her to continue with it.

So she did, also because she finds one aspect especially important about canoe.

“Para-canoe is very integrative, a bit more even than wheelchair basketball. You get in the same boat as the other canoeists during training and you just go. As soon as you are in the boat there is no difference.”

The three-time European basketball champion is aiming to be in top shape for April when the scouting for the para-canoe national team by the German Canoe Federation takes place. If she succeeds, Müller has a chance to take part in the European and World Championships as well as possibly the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“No matter what happens at the scouting, I will definitely continue with canoe. It would be the greatest thing to make it to Rio. One more time to the Paralympics. That’s my ultimate goal.”

It is a very ambitious goal since Müller has only been training for nine months at the Hamburg Canoe Club. But from her first sporting career she learned to always go for the maximum.

“From basketball I learned to always have the sight set for a big goal. If something doesn’t turn out how it should, it’s not the end of the world. But it always helps to have a goal set in front of you.”

Müller’s coach in Hamburg, Jens Kröger, believes that her Paralympic experience and her development throughout the last months give her an advantage for the scouting in April.

“It’s easy to motivate her. She’s fighting to reach a training target. She never gives up,” Kröger said.