At this point, the team reports to the Paralympics newspaper, a project of the Tagesspiegel and the German Social Accident Insurance. All the texts of our digital series can be found here. You can find all the latest news on our blog and on the social media channels of the Paralympics newspaper. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Our reader survey can be found here.
Mr. Baus won the gold medal in table tennis at the Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. What were your feelings after winning the medal and how have they developed since then?
At first I felt relieved, happy, proud. There are really many feelings that filled me at that time. Little by little I was able to sort and process them. And that wasn’t always stress-free. Many people wanted something from me. Lots of dates, congratulations… that was very nice in any case, but there wasn’t much time to really relax.
What was the first thing you did after returning to German soil?
Two colleagues picked me up at the airport, then I went home and had pizza. Nothing spectacular really. Anyway, I went to bed early. Only because the trip has exhausted me very much.
What has changed since you came back?
I get recognized much more often. After Tokyo it was very extreme. They talked to me constantly. It’s still partly like that now. But above all it is super nice. People are friendly and want to congratulate.
How relevant is your success to the world of Paralympic sport in general?
I think our performances show that Paralympic sport has become very professional. We have to give a lot to be at the top, and more and more people are realizing that. The recognition of the sport is increasing and with it the interest in it in general.
And what has changed in your personal mentality?
I would say it has relieved a certain amount of pressure. I have reached a goal for which I have worked hard. Overall, I’m a bit more relaxed now and I don’t feel like I’m chasing something all the time anymore.
How did you get back to daily training after your comeback?
I just took a decent break. I did not train anything for four or five weeks. Then very little, three or four training sessions per week. In January things really kicked into high gear again.
What is your current training volume?
Now I train five to six times a week, one or two training sessions a day.
How did you do during the break?
The break really did me good. I was able to enjoy the time and also had time for other things. But I also really wanted to get back to work. Now I have concrete goals in mind again. The Bundesliga at the end of March is close. In April we will play in the German championship, in May we will also play in France and Slovenia. There will definitely be two more tournaments for November, but which countries it will go to remains to be seen. The highlight of the year is definitely the World Cup in Spain in November.
And the next Paralympic Summer Games? Is that where you look too?
In any case, they always sound in the background. The developments are starting from the beginning, but of course there are still many things that are not clear, such as the double constellations. I must say though: Paris is coming soon and with the postponement from 2020 to 2021, the tournaments are of course even closer together now. We are already noticing it.
National coach Volker Ziegler encouraged him to perform more courageously during the individual finals of the Paralympic Games. Does such feedback have a lasting effect on training and game tactics?
These tips vary from game to game. Depending on how things go and how the game progresses. It is often a matter of feeling, both on my part and on Volkers’ part. We have been training together for a long time and we know each other very well. We’ve been through good and bad tournaments together and have learned a lot about our interactions in the process.
What else do you take away from games that you want to keep?
The attitude. I went to Tokyo with the feeling: “I really want to win”, and I also knew that the chances were good. But at the same time I became aware that I did everything possible to achieve it, and if it doesn’t work, I could live with it. So I never played against losing, I just had fun. That will continue to be the case. I have really been able to accomplish a lot in the last few years, but maybe there will be another period when the worm is there.
His teammates Thomas Schmidberger and Thomas Brüchle also triumphed in Tokyo. How is the team, what is the mood at the moment and what are the prospects for the future?
We already trained a lot together and we are in good contact. It’s great how we can give advice and motivate each other. Even if the whole team was very successful in Tokyo – one or the other medal could certainly have been a different color, but who knows, maybe we’ll switch next time. I would be very happy for the others.
How do you see international competition? Has anything changed here?
We are always looking at that. It is difficult with the very powerful Chinese, there is almost no connection here. But we also train with other nations and enrich each other, for example with the Turks and the French. When it comes to innovations, it is more Volker and I who started something like that in the competition. Let’s see what else comes to mind. Sometimes it’s just small changes that make a big difference.
The Winter Paralympics are drawing to a close in Beijing. Have you been following the games a bit?
In fact, I like to see many different disciplines. I don’t have a favorite winter sport. I also have to admit that unfortunately I don’t have time to follow everything directly. But of course I get the highlights and the medals, and I’m very excited about the performances shown.