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Dutch judoka Polling and Van 't End consider a switch abroad
29 Sep 2016 11:20
The Dutch Judo Association has changed its training model since September this year. In the past all athletes trained at their clubs and once or twice per week a national central training. Since September the Dutch Olympic Committee training centre Papendal is the place to train and live. Not coming to the new central training means, no selections for international tournaments. The eleven Dutch judoka claimed just one medal, by Anicka van Emden.
For the younger athletes with a focus for Tokyo or beyond, not the biggest problem. They are dedicated and have less work obligations and are less established while the older top athletes have created their own ideal environment. For some athletes a huge problem to move to Papendal, near the city of Arnhem.
Some top athletes consider to switch to another country such as Kim Polling who’s friend Andrea Regis offers opportunities in Italy and Noël van ‘t End, related to Clarisse Agbegnenou considers strongly to move to France. This month the Judo Association will have individual meetings with the athletes. The Association wants to keep its medal chances in The Netherlands, not for another country. Training abroad and compete for The Netherlands is also sensitive. In the past Esther Stam and Linda Bolder successfully switched to Georgia and Israel and qualified for the Olympic Games.
Polling reacts to the NOS: Centralisation is not the main reason to go to Italy. Compare it to other athletes in other sports, they moved to other countries for their coach. In this case I move to Italy to spend time with my friend." “I estimate the chance 70% to compete for the Netherlands, the federation is so far cooperative.”
Technical Director Henri Bonnes of the Dutch Judo Association: “I understand that this group of athletes is now in a phase which is uncomfortable. However it’s them who chose for top sports. We have a joint goal, medaling in Tokyo. All situations must be discussed with the athletes individually.”
The Association planned meetings with six judoka who didn’t yet chose to move to the new training centre: Kim Polling, Juul Franssen, Sanne Verhagen, Tesssie Savelkouls, Noël van 't End and Roy Meyer, who even considers the quit judo totally if the sitauion doesn't improve. "For the youth it's nice, but for te current top athletes it's a painful change." For a number of Olympians who might not last until Tokyo 2020 an solution is provided. They training in Papendal twice a week, but don’t live there, such as Jeroen Mooren, Dex Elmont, Henk Grol, Anicka van Emden and Marhinde Verkerk.
Younger potential athletes for Tokyo such as Frank de Wit, Michael Korrel and Guusje Steenhuis did move to Arnhem. De Wit: “Judo is my priority, not my life around it, so I adjust.”
For the end of the year a solution is needed, although the Association is not yet able to come to the conclusion if the new training vision delivers an effect. The vision is long term, for the Olympic Games of 2024. The Tokyo Games are too fast to measure an effect.
This weekend the Dutch Championships will be held, none of the Olympians will compete. Michael Korrel, present in Rio as training partner of some of the Olympians, will be the highest ranked athlete, since last week 11th in the World ranking.
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