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Highway to success can be a priority for the longer term, so overseas brief observe velocity skaters are banned

Suzanne Schulting wins a semifinal in Beijing, China. In addition to Schulting Hanne Desmet, her Belgian coaching buddy and buddy, additionally her greatest competitor. She crossed the end line second.Picture Klaas Jan van der Weij / de Volkskrant

Dutch brief observe velocity skaters assume the banning of overseas teammates by the KNSB skating affiliation is unwise. They assume they’ll get higher due to each day coaching periods with overseas skaters, as has been proven over the previous twelve years. The skating affiliation fears elevated competitors and not needs to work with foreigners after subsequent season.

The Netherlands has made an enormous impression in recent times by working with overseas riders, notes Belgian brief tracker Stijn Desmet. ‘As a result of now we’re welcome in all places.’ After listening to concerning the KNSB’s new coverage, the Belgian federation contacted a number of international locations. This finally resulted in a provisional collaboration with America and subsequently Canada.

Over by writer

Lisette van der Geest is a sports activities reporter for de Volkskrant and has been writing about Olympic sports activities comparable to skating, tennis, judo, handball and crusing for over ten years.

When Jeroen Otter took workplace as nationwide coach in 2010, the Dutch brief observe was not superb at worldwide stage. Otter introduced nationalities collectively, invited visitor drivers and made the aid extra essential. His philosophy: the next stage in breadth ensures success.

Through the years, Belgians, South Koreans, Kazakhs, Germans, Russians, an Israeli and a Latvian have traveled to Thialf in Heerenveen to coach with the Dutch. In some instances, they lasted for a number of weeks to months. Others, comparable to sister and brother Hanne and Stijn Desmet, stayed for years – they’ve lived in Heerenveen since 2018.

Most profitable brief observe nation on this planet

Otter’s method labored. The Netherlands is now probably the most profitable brief observe nation on this planet for ladies. On the World Cup in March, nationwide coach Niels Kerstholt, who had been appointed since 2022, noticed all the ladies’s titles go to the Netherlands. However technical director Remy de Wit is nervous concerning the future. The variety of Olympic medals within the Netherlands is falling. He defined his resolution on the affiliation’s web site, schaatsen.nl: ‘We select this with a purpose to obtain Olympic success with TeamNL sooner or later as properly.’

Xandra Velzeboer, the 21-year-old revelation of the final World Cup due to her 4 occasions gold, calls the departure of her teammates ‘a pity’. Quicker opponents comparable to Dutch a number of Olympic champion Suzanne Schulting and Hanne Desmet challenged her and saved her sharp from the second she joined the group as a expertise. ‘Briefly observe you want one another. Good teammates are extraordinarily essential there, you turn out to be stronger from one another.’

When Jens van ‘t Wout, the perfect brief observe velocity skater within the Netherlands in the intervening time, was overtaken by Stijn Desmet throughout his 1,000 meters on the European Championships, he obtained quite a lot of questions. “What do you concentrate on a overseas teammate who trumps you?” The 21-year-old Van ‘t Wout shrugged. It might appear doubtful, however he thinks: ‘Partly due to Stijn, I’m now at this stage.’ The Canadians, Olympic champion within the relay, will profit tremendously from the Belgians, he additionally expects. And vice versa.

Racing and overtaking maneuvers

With regards to prime velocity, Stijn Desmet was the quickest of the Kerstholt group throughout coaching final 12 months. Van ‘t Wout: ‘Then you definately at all times have somebody to race behind, even when you find yourself drained. We have now to problem one another in brief observe, maintain looking in coaching, and Stijn put quite a lot of focus. He made you good for a sport. We have now a robust group with the Netherlands, we aren’t misplaced now that they’re gone. However it’s a disgrace.’

Brief observe skaters do not simply profit from coaching at excessive velocity; simply as with lengthy observe velocity skating, technically higher skating can be required at larger speeds. As well as, the game is about overtaking maneuvers, about agility on the ice with generally six opponents inside just a few sq. meters. Nationwide coach Kerstholt needs to mimic that problem as usually as doable throughout coaching periods. As well as, skaters who go away their nation for his or her sport usually carry a purposeful perspective with them.

The width of Dutch brief observe velocity skating, particularly amongst males, has elevated in recent times. There’s development from youth. ‘However our prime gamers have to be challenged,’ says Kerstholt. Not from under, by brief trackers who simply got here to observe. ‘You really need to completely stimulate your finest performing husband and spouse in your personal atmosphere.’


It isn’t sacred to have foreigners prepare with you, Kerstholt emphasizes. ‘It’s a issue for achievement, not the issue. For instance, I can even ship my finest performing husband or spouse overseas to stimulate them.’ The brand new coverage additionally challenges the nationwide coach to give you different options. ‘However coaching with foreigners was a easy, efficient approach to work at a excessive stage.’ Velzeboer states that she regrets it when teammates go away at a excessive stage, no matter their nationality.

The Belgians paid the Dutch federation for amenities in recent times, together with the steering employees comparable to the fabric man and the physiotherapist. With the rising success, the latter raised questions inside the skating affiliation. Who will get precedence when skating blades must be processed? Will a Dutch coach coach in opposition to the Netherlands with a number of teammates in a remaining? Who can go to the physiotherapist first throughout a busy competitors weekend?

Kerstholt: ‘That began to chafe increasingly more. The Dutch choice is our main purpose. There ought to be no nervousness about that. And that’s the reason I perceive the selection that has been made.’

Profitable foreigners

By no means earlier than have coaching foreigners been as profitable as now. Hanne Desmet gained Olympic bronze in Beijing a 12 months in the past, and final season she gained gold on the similar distance on the European Championships. Stijn Desmet gained World Cup bronze twice final 12 months and this 12 months was good for silver within the international title battle. Kerstholt: ‘That is additionally a brand new scenario for us.’

The Belgians may keep within the Netherlands for one more 12 months, however with three years left earlier than the Olympic Video games, they now need to examine whether or not they prefer it in North America. Desmet: ‘And the unions couldn’t agree on the association for subsequent season.’ Belgium wished a worth discount, with the disappearance of amenities comparable to teaching and materials provide.

With the upcoming association in North America, not two, however six Belgians will discover shelter. Stijn Desmet: ‘This improvement might not be a nasty factor in any respect for Belgian brief observe velocity skating.’ Along with two high-level teammates, the Netherlands may even miss the extra monetary compensation subsequent season. Desmet: ‘I do not assume they’ve made it straightforward for themselves.’

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