Liemarvin Bonevacia has little road runner Churandy Martina: Always Happy. But Bonevacia is busier and more energetic. The delightful pacemaker, speaking at lightning speed, has its own Antillean accent and sprinkled with a richness of English idioms. “I feel great, man!” He shouted after qualifying for the Olympics on Saturday. And a day later, after the world title with the 4×400 meter team: “We have to have fun with this!”
With younger Angela (21), Joshem Dober (23) and Tony Van Diepen (25), the 32-year-old Bonifacia has already won the gold medal at the European Indoor Championships in Toru in March, followed by the world title in the World Cup relay on Sunday. . The fact that he walked Stadion Slaski after a series of cheerful dances and a catwalk party with some golden paper scraps in his hair, fits his state of mind perfectly. “We can call ourselves world champions,” Bonifacia said.
The lack of defending champion America and a number of other big nations did not dampen his happiness. “The rest could have been here, but they didn’t choose to.”
The joy had already begun the day before. After reaching the Final and Olympic Qualifiers, he spoke about the long road we had come, something his younger teammates barely knew. “This is definitely a special team. Yes man! I still can’t believe it. Since 2013, I have been part of the team and have been planning to go to games with the 4x400m team. It always goes wrong. I said to myself this morning: If it doesn’t happen now, it won’t Never succeeds. ”
But this time nothing went wrong and the team sovereignly ran to win twice. “I still have the pain in my heart since the times it didn’t work out.”
With two golds in your pocket, that pain has now faded into the background. This summer, the team will go to the Games in Tokyo, as the first Dutch delegation to attend the event since 1980. “I am happy that I write history with the children.”
By the way, Bonevacia may or may not have seen such success. “I almost quit last year,” he said earlier this season, when he became the Dutch domestic champion in a new national record. In his Bonevacian style: “I was sitting in the rear.”
After a number of lean years without top performances and full of injuries, motivation has dropped drastically. So much so, that he seriously doubted whether he wanted to become a top athlete anymore. In the end, he decided to take a piece of paper and come up with “pros and cons.” The list of positives was a little longer than the list of negatives, so Bonevacia’s tough decision suddenly became simple again. “Then it will continue.”
Head coach Charles Van Comeny convinced him to come to Papendale permanently, after he wandered with coaches away from the National Sports Center. “Liemarvin has been far off the right track in his life,” Van Comeny said after Bonevacia won gold at the European Championships. “I thought if he continued like this, he would still be a mid-level athlete. It wouldn’t do justice to his talent.”
Thanks to the hulk at Papendal and the joint training sessions, Bonevacia has regained its shape and now has a relay team that also has ambitions in this summer’s games. Last Sunday’s world title gives a slightly distorted picture due to the number of missing countries and top runners, who were not there due to the pandemic.
Getting a medal in games would still be a big trick, but to qualify for the final and then hope for more is definitely realistic. The Dutch team, Bonivacia ahead, are confident of that. “We set the standards high and dared to dream. That’s why we were the best now. This is a special team, we can think we can also shine in Tokyo.”