“If you have a positive attitude towards life, you will achieve more”

Ermilor Jaap de Vries has been allowed to compete in the Paralympic Games four times and has won the gold medal three times. “I was refused a sports test and thought I would never play football again.”

The Paralympic Games are in full swing. Harderwijk’s Lisa Krueger also shines in the pool, but there is also a champion sportsman in Ermelo: Jaap de Vries has been allowed to participate in the games several times.


When he was eight years old, Jaap was rejected as a footballer. “At that time, sports tests were still taken before you were allowed to take part in any sport. In the sports test I was refused and could forget to play football.” But it turns out that nothing is less true. Yap was examined at the Pius Hospital in Harderwijk. There he was given the green light and thus de Vries began playing football at the football club in Horst. “I excelled in football, got the chance to play for the Dutch Paralympic team and started the adventure.”

Paralympics from Ermelo

In 1988, he played his first Paralympic match with the soccer team in Seoul, South Korea. “I was a leader at the time and we won the award.” Also in 1992 in Barcelona (Spain) he played Jaap, as in 1996 in Atlanta (USA) and 2000 in Sydney (Australia). “We won three times out of four.”

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Jaap de Vries during the Paralympic Games. Photo near Randmeren


Since Ermelor has featured many times as one of the best athletes in the Paralympics and played several World Cups, he has seen a lot of the world. “I have been to Rio, Saint Petersburg, and Barcelona, ​​among others. I will never forget these moments and enjoyed the trips. The longer we stayed in the country, the more time it gave us to explore the city and the surrounding area. It was beautiful and fun.”

Barcelona still holds a special place in my heart.

Before the match, the team was taken to the stadium by bus. “In Barcelona we went up the mountain with the team. We saw the spectators go up and up more and more as we got to a higher level. We won the gold in that match.”

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Ermilor Jaap de Vries during the Paralympic Games. Photo near Randmeren

For example, Yap still visits Barcelona regularly. “I love the sea, the temperature and the atmosphere in the country. I used to come back to the Spanish capital often. I visited the stadium and felt the hair rise. Goosebumps.” Nowadays, he does not often go to the football stadium in Barcelona. “I took my kids with me, but in the end it’s an experience I lived by myself. Transferring that can be difficult.”

What do you bring?

She also brought a lot to Ermeloër. In 1996 the former Queen Beatrix knighted me at Catshuis. I am also in the Top 500; The best Dutch athletes of the century’. Johan Cruyff, for example, is in the book and only five athletes with disabilities. I’m one of them and I’m proud of that.”

In addition, Yap wants to add another positive note. “I had a disability due to lack of oxygen at birth. I sometimes wonder if I would play football for the national team if I didn’t have this limitation. But on the other hand: I am now high frequency; I am very positive. If you have a positive outlook on life, you will achieve More “.

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The book with the 500 best athletes of the century, which also includes Jaap de Vries. Photo near Randmeren

the weather

Now that Jaap is no longer in the field as a Paralympian, he still runs his businesses (including one with wooden picnic tables) and predicts the weather daily. We also ask him to forecast the weather every month for indebuurt.nl/randmeren. In July 2020, he talked about his calling as a local weather forecaster in the article: Irmeloz Yap: ‘I’m expecting better weather than the weather’

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Hardervik Paralympy

In 2021, there will also be a champion athlete from our region in the Paralympic Games; Hardervik Lisa Krueger. She won the 2016 Games and this year already won a silver medal. Are you curious when you have to swim? Check swimming times here.

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