Movement in many facets: Fabienne Königstein wants to help determine the future of sport


| Sports policy

Chiara Gethmann

Fabienne Königstein wants to get involved. For freedom of expression, international networking and for women. Among other things. For the marathon runner it is clear: There is a lot to do in the world of sports.

Marathon runner, member of the executive committee of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) and of Athletes Germany eV, molecular biologist, German Marathon Champion 2018 and soon to be a mother too. Fabienne Königstein (MTG Mannheim) has many roles. A lot has happened for the 29-year-old, especially in the last year. “A year ago I would not have thought that I would be part of the DOSB Presidium today,” she looks back.

Fabienne Königstein had been interested in getting involved for a long time, but alongside her studies and competitive sports, free time was a scarce commodity. With her master’s degree at the University of Heidelberg, she knew: “Now is the moment when I can get involved”. She remembers: “I then wanted to put the free time into the athletes’ representation. That actually always interested me.” Fabienne Königstein wants to represent the interests of athletes – give them a voice.

“It was the right moment for me”

So she got in touch with Athleten Deutschland eV, an association that was founded in 2017 to advocate for the interests and rights of athletes in German sport. Initially working in a working group that dealt with the needs of female athletes – a matter close to Fabienne Königstein’s heart – she quickly moved on to a new role when it became clear last year that the old Executive Committee of Athletes Germany would not continue.

“Then I was asked if I would like to. That was the right moment for me because I was injured at the time and could well imagine taking on a new task,” says the marathon runner.

Injuries have repeatedly plagued the eleventh and thus best German marathon runner at the European Championships in Berlin 2018 in recent years. A stress fracture and subsequent muscle hardening in the year after the EM. She took heart after the injuries had healed. Only to have to use crutches again last summer. But Fabienne Königstein has never lost her optimism. She survived the operation well – walking is fun again. The anticipation of the offspring that she and her husband are expecting in the summer is also great.

International networking as an important adjusting screw

Fabienne Königstein is also optimistic about her new tasks. “Max Hartung, the former President, has shown that you can definitely change something. Athletes Germany now really has the basis and the hearing to change something. As the Executive Committee, we have a decisive say in which direction things are going,” she summarizes the potential for change.

Fabienne Königstein currently sees the most important lever in international networking: “We simply noticed that the vast majority of the rules that determine our everyday life are made by international associations. As a German athletes’ commission, you can’t achieve anything on your own. You have to team up with other nations to do this, and there is still quite a lack of structure. The goal is to intensify the cooperation.”

Lots to do for Fabienne Koenigstein

With her election to the Presidium of Athletes Germany, another role followed: Athletes spokeswoman in the DOSB Presidium. “I was then elected to the Executive Committee and at the same time to the Athletes’ Committee. Each of us athletes has another function,” explains Fabienne Königstein, “And I was interested in the DOSB.”

The marathon runner takes part in events and meetings or, like last month, travels to Lausanne (Switzerland) to promote international networking there. The Mannheim native wants to make a difference in the world of sports: The freedom of expression of athletes is very important to her, as is strengthening international networking and the needs and interests of women in sports. “All in all, there are a great many topics. The women’s topic will always be my passion. If there are reports somewhere, I always read them,” she says with a laugh.

Fabienne Königstein has many roles and big plans. When asked whether it will be a challenge to reconcile all of these, especially with regard to the upcoming offspring, she replies with the usual optimism: “Yes, it will definitely be a challenge. I think the pandemic is actually playing into my hands a bit. The fact that you can now also take part in some sessions online means there is no longer any travel time – that’s worth a lot.” The disciplined athlete will certainly deal with this challenge successfully.