What an honour, to be asked by the board of the Special Needs Judo Foundation to take on the role of Patron. There is probably no job description for this, but looking at the request of the Board I think that I will have my work cut out for me. In other words, it is not only about the name, but also what you are and what you do.
My name is Henny Jacobse and since 1973 I have been involved with sports for handicapped people. I took the initiative for the first judo classes at the AGO Foundation in Amsterdam. In 1991 I was appointed chairman of the NSG, the Dutch sports association for mentally handicapped people, and after their merger with NEBAS (The Dutch association for adapted sports) I became chairman of NebasNSG which later became Handicapped Sports Netherlands, where I took my leave in 2009, and was appointed Honorary Chair.
I have experienced a lot in those years and shaped many things: The start of Special Olympics in The Netherlands, starting in 2000: The organisational integration (Which means that responsibility for Special Needs sports lies with the respective Sports Associations), 10 Special Olympics Games and five Paralympics I was able to take part in. But first and foremost I met a lot of people: Athletes, coaches, volunteers and professionals. I would like to mention one special event: The recognition of judo as a sport for the Special Olympics, in 2000 during the European Special Olympics in Groningen.
Together with my wife Ineke we still visit a lot of Special Needs sports events. We hope to meet you there.
Honorary Chair Gehandicaptensport Nederland and Special Olympics Nederland