Koen Jansens

Gold and silver medal-winning Paralympian, Koen Jansens was born with spina bifida, but has refused to let his condition dictate his lifestyle.

“Like most youngsters, I was obsessed with football and it was difficult not being able to run around with my mates,” he said. “I found an outlet in wheelchair basketball, and playing it at an elite level has taken me to places I never thought I’d go.”

Koen was a member of the Dutch men’s wheelchair basketball national squad, competing at four Paralympic Games from 1992 to 2004, including Barcelona, Spain (1992 – gold); Atlanta, USA (1996); Sydney, Australia (2000 – silver); and Athens, Greece (2004).

He is married to Manly-born Australian Paralympian Donna Ritchie, who was part of the silver medal-winning Australian women’s wheelchair basketball team at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics. They have a son and a daughter. Koen retired from international basketball about 15 years ago to shift focus on a corporate career in Software Sales building and leading sales teams across the Asia Pacific region.

Koen is currently a board member of WBA (Wheelchair Basketball Australia), which is a newly created company responsible for running the National Men’s and Women’s Leagues, as well as the President of the Manly Wheel Eagles Basketball Team and an inspiration to many young and aspiring players.

“You can look at life two ways: you can get upset with the cards you are dealt or you can go out and live life to the fullest.

We chose the latter and couldn’t be happier, we have two wonderful children and busy lives.
I am so excited by the work that the Sargood Foundation is doing to help others with spinal cord injury to get the most out of life, it really resonates with my own personal philosophy and I look forward to working with the Foundation to create new futures and opportunities for those living with SCI.”