Press Release

February 7, 2023

Volkswagen Financial Services are sponsoring 27 young athletes and teams from Lower Saxony

To promote young talent: high-profile jury including national soccer player Alexandra Popp and biathlete Arnd Peiffer chose from 409 applicants

From basketball to para track and field or triathlon: sponsored athletes come from around 20 disciplines

Turbo-boost for young athletes' careers – a matter of heart for Volkswagen Financial Services

Braunschweig, 7 February 2023. 27 young female and male athletes and youth teams from Lower Saxony can be well pleased: they will now be receiving financial support from Volkswagen Financial Services for at least one year. The backing is part of the new program to promote young sporting talent launched by the Volkswagen Group's financial and mobility services provider. A top-caliber jury that included the German national soccer player Alexandra Popp from the club VfL Wolfsburg and the Olympic biathlon champion Arnd Peiffer came together to select the top talents aged up to 22. The lucky chosen come from around 20 different sports – a wide spectrum that embraces basketball, soccer, kite surfing, para track and field, rowing, gymnastics, sport climbing, swimming, and triathlon. The athletes are based in many parts of the state, with club locations such as Braunschweig, Celle, Cuxhaven, Gifhorn, Hannover, Lüneburg, Osnabrück, Rotenburg, Salzgitter, Springe, Walsrode, and Wolfsburg.

The jury was certainly spoiled for choice: Volkswagen Financial Services received 409 applications from all over Lower Saxony, including a number sent in as short videos. "There are quite outstanding young athletes among them. It was impressive to see them, their talent, their motivation, and the fun they were having," said Alexandra Popp, who was recently voted National Player of the Year 2022 in German football. "What's more," she added, "these young people are incredibly focused and structured – otherwise they wouldn't have already got this far. The support from Volkswagen Financial Services will be an extra dose of motivation for them." One special moment stands out for Popp: she personally brought the news to artistic roller skater Ricarda Zander in Wolfsburg that she was one of those receiving financial support. Popp remembers: "Experiencing her joy at first hand touched my heart. That alone made it worthwhile being a jury member." The 17-year-old sports talent from VfL Wolfsburg knew nothing in advance about the planned encounter, but had been lured to the club grounds under a pretext. Her thrill and joy was therefore all the greater. Surprise accomplished!

As a former Olympic champion in biathlon, Arnd Peiffer is delighted that two winter sport athletes are among those being sponsored: "I'm certain that the sponsorship from Volkswagen Financial Services will pay off for them too. But the funding will also give further tailwind to all the other athletes as well. I was also impressed to see how diverse the sports landscape in Lower Saxony is. That's another reason why it was a real pleasure to be part of the jury."

For Volkswagen Financial Services, CFO Frank Fiedler and Dr. Michael Reinhart, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Bank, both sat on the jury.

Fiedler had this to say: "We take our social responsibility very seriously, and the refocusing of our sports sponsoring represents an important addition to our other community activities. Our commitment now to give a boost to young people and also fast-track their sporting development is a matter close to our hearts at Volkswagen Financial Services."

Reinhart added: "We are enormously pleased for the young athletes, who are pursuing their goals full of passion and may now be in a better position to really take off. The really high number of applications shows that our offer for young sporting talent has struck a responsive chord."

That's why Volkswagen Financial Services are already announcing a sequel: the second round of the promotion program for talented up-and-coming athletes will start this summer – on September 1st, to be precise. The deadline for applications is October 15th. All the necessary information will be available in good time at

These are the individual athletes and teams who are being sponsored by Volkswagen Financial Services with the amount they have applied for:

• Änna Pannek (age 12), sport: canoe slalom, club: Kanu- und Segel-Gilde Hildesheim
• Maivi Fuchs (age 13), sport: aerobic gymnastics, club: Blau-Weiß Buchenholze
• Svea Funck (age 13), sport: track and field, club: TV Jahn Walsrode
• Alexandra Melnichuk (age 13), sport: trampoline gymnastics, club: TGJ Salzgitter
• Laura-Dominika Milos (age 13), sport: table tennis, club: Hannover 96
• Aaron Jakobs (age 14): sport: biathlon, club: WSV Clausthal-Zellerfeld
• Jonas Körner (age 14), sport: sport climbing, club: Deutscher Alpenverein Sektion Braunschweig
• Mailina Nedderhut (age 15): sport: tennis, club: TC GW Gifhorn 
• Jasper Pippig (age 15), sport: golf, club: Golfclub Hannover 
• Kristin Raddatz (age 16), sport: Jujutsu, club: VfL Westercelle
• Chiara-Sophie Silberstorff (age 16): sport: soccer, club: VfL Wolfsburg
• Laura Burbulla (age 17), sport: para track and field, club: VfL Wolfsburg 
• Marcel Graf (age 17), sport: apparatus gymnastics, club: VT Rinteln
• Anton Schaper (age 17), sport: cross-country skiing, club: Eintracht Braunschweig
• Ricarda Zander (age 17), sport: artistic roller skating, club: VfL Wolfsburg
• Fabian Frick (age 18), sport: kitesurfing, club: Cuxkiters Cuxhaven
• Tim Kalies (age 18), sport: track and field, club: Braunschweiger Laufclub
• Emily Pischke (age 18), sport: track and field, club: Hannover 96
• Jasper Till Schröder (age 18), sport: cycling, club: RC Blau-Gelb Langenhagen
• Fabian Schönke (age 19), sport: triathlon, club: RSC Lüneburg
• Paul David Leerkamp (age 20), sport: rowing, club: Osnabrücker Ruder-Verein 
• Phil Grolla (age 22), sport: para track and field, club: VfL Wolfsburg 
• Marcel Meyer (age 22), sport: track and field, club: Hannover 96
• Team from MTV Braunschweig, sport: cheerleading
• Team from Deutscher Ruder-Club von 1884 Hannover, sport: rowing
• Team from SSG Braunschweig, sport: swimming
• Team from TK Hannover, sport: 3x3 basketball

The jury comprised:

• Arnd Peiffer, world and Olympic champion in biathlon
• Alexandra Popp, German national soccer player from VfL Wolfsburg
• Manfred Kehm, Team Leader, Competitive Sports Promotion, LandesSportBund Niedersachsen e.V.
• Andreas Hundt, career advisor at the Olympic Training Center Lower Saxony
• Dr. Kerstin Loehr, Editor-in-Chief of the Braunschweiger Zeitung newspaper
• Frank Fiedler, Member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Financial Services AG
• Dr. Michael Reinhart, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Bank GmbH

Jury meeting (from left): Frank Fiedler (CFO Volkswagen Financial Services), Kerstin Loehr (Editor-in-Chief Braunschweiger Zeitung), Michael Reinhart (CEO Volkswagen Bank), Manfred Kehm (LandesSportBund Niedersachsen e.V.), national soccer player Alexandra Popp, biathlon Olympic champion Arnd Peiffer and Andreas Hundt (Olympic Training Center Lower Saxony)

Surprise: German national soccer player Alexandra Popp (right) brought the good news to Wolfsburg artistic roller skater Ricarda Zander in person. The talent will be promoted by Volkswagen Financial Services in the future.

Great joy: German national soccer player Alexandra Popp (right) and Angela Kleinhans (left), Head of Sponsoring Volkswagen Financial Services, surprised the Wolfsburg artistic roller skater Ricarda Zander. The 17-year-old is one of those chosen to receive financial support from VW FS.

Information for editors

Volkswagen Financial Services are a business division of the Volkswagen AG group of companies and comprise Volkswagen Financial Services AG along with its associated companies, Volkswagen Bank GmbH, Porsche Financial Services, and the financial services companies in the USA and Canada that belong directly or indirectly to Volkswagen AG – with the exception of the financial service business of the Scania brand and of Porsche Holding Salzburg. The key business fields embrace dealer and customer financing, leasing, bank and insurance activities, fleet management and mobility services. Volkswagen Financial Services have a total of 16,849 employees worldwide – including 7,570 alone in Germany. Volkswagen Financial Services report total assets of around EUR 235.6 billion, an operating result of EUR 5.67 billion, and a portfolio of around 22.0 million current contracts (as at: 31.12.2021).

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