NOS Editor in Munich
NOS Editor in Munich
He has not yet completed the integration course to become a Dutch citizen. Otherwise, South African-born athlete Richard Murray may have known what is meant in Holland by the phrase “a common grief is half grief”.
After his wife Rachel Klammer, who finished disappointingly in the European Championships in 16th place on Friday, it was also revealed that the 33-year-old Murray was a bluff on behalf of his new home Holland (he may play for the Netherlands in the European Championships).
37th place, 4.50 minutes behind French winner Leo Berger, was below his potential, and number 4 in the Olympic triathlon at Rio 2016 couldn’t deny it. There are a lot of extenuating circumstances, none of it. But Murray did not want to use it as an excuse.
In Munich, it was the first time in three years that he had returned to playing at an Olympic distance (1.5 km swimming, 40 km cycling, 10 km running). But it was only the second time since his heart surgery in mid-2021 that he has appeared at the start of the race again.
Frenchman Berger won a three-way race in Munich, and the best Dutchman finished 37th
In May last year, eight weeks before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed, he revealed that he suffers from atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat. “At rest, my heartbeat would sometimes go from 50 to 180 and back again,” Murray recalls.
An early end to his career was announced. He even asked for a second opinion on the advice of his Dutch coach, Louis Delahay. A surgical procedure in a hospital in the Netherlands, three months after the second diagnosis, involved the resumption of his career.
Murray concluded that if he were to start over, he would have to do it on behalf of the Netherlands, the country in which he and his wife Klammer already live. With the man from Cape Town in the ranks, the Dutch trio have to polish the damaged renk again.
Murray watched the controversy surrounding his sport from a distance at the end of November. As he put it, he was not aware of the violations that occurred in the Dutch triathlon.
Yes, he said in Munich, he understands that the strict laws of excellent sport may not be enjoyed by everyone. “The false comments were hit hard. It’s just about how you deal with them.”
During this period Murray caused a stir with a message on social media. He posted a picture of himself on Twitter with expressive English text: “The top of the sport is tough…deal with it.”
On Saturday, Murray confirmed that these words were not an indictment against the Dutch triathlete players who exposed the violations. What did he mean?
“Everywhere you go you have grumbling and complaining. People who participate in the best sports often forget to enjoy themselves. Look at beautiful things. Feel privileged. And perform.”
I lost my birth certificate in South Africa and no one knows where to find it.
This is the message he would like to convey to his new compatriots. With the help of the World Triathlon Federation, his move from South Africa to the Netherlands was officially confirmed in March 2022 after an emergency procedure, although he does not yet have a new passport. In any case, it gave him the opportunity to play for his new home for the first time in June, during a match in Leeds.
Murray sees a golden future for Dutch triathlon, especially in the mixed relay. A figure he withdrew from in Munich to avoid an overload on Sunday. But this is the discipline in which Klammer, Maya Kingma, Jurick van Eigdom and Marco van der Stel finished fourth at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
In his opinion, with it being a replacement for Van der Stel, the possibilities for Paris 2024 are unprecedented. “At least, when the atmosphere in the national selection is timely.”
“The mood is not good. Nobody talks to each other. One lives here and the other there. There is no coherence. Perhaps new guidance and newly appointed coaches can ensure that the athletes finally gain confidence in each other. It would be great when there is finally a better organization in Holland “.
Murray is still not sure about his participation in the Paris Olympics. He does not have the correct papers to become a Dutch citizen.
“I lost my birth certificate in South Africa and no one knows where to find that document. My brother had the same problem. It took two years to get all the necessary documents.”
“It will be difficult to arrange everything in time, in part because I travel a lot for my sport.” He laughs: “Maybe when we come home from this European Championship, we should really work on it. Because time is running out.”
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