Reconciling top-class sport and career

9 Sept 2022

Tanja Eberl works at the Chair of Japanese Studies at LMU. In her spare time she plays badminton at top international level.

Successful at the European Championships: LMU employee Tanja Eberl

Before Tanja Eberl, assistant at the Department of Japanese Studies, gets to work, she first goes to the weight room. She lifts weights, stretches and trains her endurance. Now 55, she plays badminton at the professional level - a physically demanding sport. After her workday at Oettingenstr. 67, she drives to the local badminton clubhouse. There, the qualified B-trainer trains a children's and youth performance group at the Bavarian Badminton Association's base on a voluntary basis, after which she picks up a racket herself, practices her hitting and running technique, plays a few matches.

Since October 2019, Tanja Eberl has been an assistant at the Department of Japanese Studies. She is mainly responsible for the administrative processes in the Japan Center, but also writes for the institute's blog and maintains the homepage. Starting at the university, shortly before the pandemic, was not easy: "You hardly know your team when we all have to work from the home office," Eberl recalls. Nevertheless, she says, it worked out well, the whole team supported her well, and that's still the case today: "Every time I play a major game, my colleagues cheer me on, watch the games, congratulate me, that feels great." And there are many occasions for congratulations: Most recently, she earned gold in her age group in women's doubles at the European Championships in Ljubljana and was runner-up in singles.

In top form: Tanja Eberl playing during the European Championships 2022

© Pascal Histel

Badminton has always been important to Eberl: "Even as a child, I played competitively," she recalls. And how did her path lead her to LMU? "I already studied modern German literature and Japanese studies here," she says. Then she went to Sport1 as a sports editor, reporting on sporting events and preferring to write about Japanese sports or events. "The thought never left me that I wanted to work more intensively with Japanese culture again. So when the position at the Chair of Japanese Studies was advertised, it was immediately clear to me that I had to apply," she recalls. And what's the next step? "Next year, the World Cup will be held in South Korea. I would find a trip there very exciting, so my goal is of course to qualify, and first and foremost to stay healthy and fit. If all that works out, my next goal is a gold medal in the singles!"

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