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The Netherlands cherishes lightweight Amber Gersjes
16 Nov 2017 15:15
In October Dutch lightweight Amber Gersjes became World Junior Champion. The 20-year old will compete at the Grand Prix of The Hague. In Zagreb she came for the gold, and got it. The focus that she can convert into success is her biggest progress. She won the World and European title for Juniors this year and Holland seems to have a new promising lightweight for the future.
“A day like that in Zagreb brings me the ultimate judo happiness, a day where everything is top, everything 100%, all fall s at its place. But also I can enjoy teaching judo to young kids, also that is ultimate judo happiness.”
In The Hague Gersjes won’t get a medal for free with top athletes such as Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh who won Olympic bronze, Taciana Cesar who competed at the 2016 Olympic Games and won six continental senior titles. European Champion Daria Bilodid is 17 years young so it’s possible to make the connection to the seniors. In the Hague Gersjes is matched to Anastasia Pavlenko in her first bout. A pool that offers opportunities.
She will have to grow to that senior level and the Hague offers that chance. Meanwhile she is also busy with her study public administration at the University in Nijmegen. However the combination with judo, living from her family at the training centre at Papendal wasn’t so easy.
Gersjes: “In the beginning I missed my family a lot, I love my family and still my little brother is waiting for me at home until I get home. When I am not in Papendal I loved to visit my family. But judo takes a lot of effort including the travelling, the training camps. I’m just a family girl, so adjusting wasn’t easy, but meanwhile I got used to take care of my own.
She started doing judo when she was two years young in her hometown Tilburg. After she reached a certain level she moved on to Rotterdam to train with top athletes. “Mark Huizinga is my example, what he achieved is the direction I want to grow to. He became Olympic Champion. But also Marhinde Verkerk trains in Rotterdam, she was World Champion in 2009. Mark is my example though. Sometimes he still teaches us some technical lessons.”
Since a few years she travels the world and won the European title, two European Junior titles and now she is World Junior champion. Abu Dhabi, Miami, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv and many other cities she’s seen…. The sports hall and hotel mainly. With er team mates she won the world silver medal at the Junnior Worlds recently.
Top Sports requires discipline and that discipline is her strong point. She has to. Gersjes: “Discipline is key, also in a match where you have to stick to the tactical plan and exactly that brought me where I am right now. I switched coach and also that takes some adjustment but we have a good click and he (John van der Meer) told me exactly the game plan and once I stick to that, you can see the success.”
Her grip is her strong point, a weapon to change the match. She goes her own way, her own schedules and doesn’t look too much to competitors, to rivals. She is busy with gaining some weight as in fact she needs a bit more to come to the 48kgs.
The Netherlands needs a good lightweight. The Dutch hadn’t won a European medal anymore U48kg and for 28 years a World medal is lacking. Gersjes became the 16th World Junior Champion in history, many won a big tournament, but three of them won the Olympic title and that’s the aim. Five of the 16 won a continental title. Good motivating figures for the next Olympic cycle and they are the benchmark for Amber Gersjes. Tokyo is the target but it’s a long road to go starting this weekend in The Hague. After the The Hague Grand Prix she will go to Japan for her first time and train hard.
Watch Amber in action on Friday from 10:00 o’clock.
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