‘We need to do something else’

Jur Spijkers became a champion in the over 100 kilograms category.ANP . image

According to Rones, the former national beach volleyball coach, a different approach is needed for the success of the new Dutch judo. Many Dutch judokas may have been in the top 10 in the world rankings in their weight class for years, but in the last two Olympics – by far the most important tournament in judo – the medal harvest has been meager: one bronze medal for Annika van Emden in Rio (2016) and one gold medal. Colored the same as Sani Van Dyck, last summer in Tokyo. Ronis believes that there is a world to be won in a sport known primarily as conservative sport.

See what you’ll be joining, he was warned when he joined the Judo Federation in January and indicated he wanted to turn things around. As the national coach for beach volleyball players, under his leadership, the men’s program has become a world leader, with the world title and bronze medal at the Games as tangible evidence. He wants to achieve the same with the Judo Federation, although in the first months he noticed that the sport works differently.

normal reflex

In the conservative world of judo, fighting is the natural reaction. Both on and off the mat. physically or verbally. It is attack or defense. The brute force is on the mental side, while Ronis wants to focus more on the latter topic. “Some are more open to it than others.”

Remarkably, the same result emerged from the Olympic assessments in Rio and Tokyo: especially on a mental level, judokas failed. They weren’t there when they needed to. Collapsed under pressure or did you not prepare well? Ron didn’t dare say it, he wasn’t there. “But if you come to the same conclusion for two consecutive Olympics, I wonder what has been accomplished in those five years in between.”

Your Spikers have Germany's Johannes Frey in final control.  AFP photo

Your Spikers have Germany’s Johannes Frey in final control.AFP photo

The disappointing performance means NOCNSF has cut annual subsidies by just a few per cent. In 2021, the Judo Association received approximately 1.7 million euros from the national sport umbrella, the vast majority of the sport’s annual budget. Much-needed funds to run a high-quality exercise program.

In my opinion, the focus is too much on the need for performance, or else the money tap would be closed. That creates a bit of a cramp,” says Rons, who held the talks and mainly observed in his first three months as Best Sports director. “We should do something else instead.”

Show some courage

In the words of the Senior Sports Director, that means showing courage. Dare to stand on your face and then get up again. Doing new things that haven’t been done before. “Judo is very conservative. But if we do what we keep doing, we will only win one Olympic bronze medal in the upcoming games and the money will slowly be closing in as well.”

With his new approach, Ronnes wants to focus on expert science and knowledge, with a multidisciplinary coach called “the spider in the web.” In the eyes of a top sports director, a coach must have knowledge in many areas, such as tactics, technique, physical and mental. If this knowledge didn’t extend far enough, he should be able to summon experts.

Giggs Ronis Godot Bond Statue

Gijs RonnesJudo Bund, Holland’s photo

Rons gives an example: “If a judoka does not perform under pressure, he goes to a psychologist once a week to talk about it. Then the coach completely disappears from the picture, while the psychologist has to provide the coach with information, so that the performance under pressure is reflected in the Practice every day You won’t be able to have one conversation a week.

Hold the program until the light

For example, Ronnes wants to bring the entire program into the light, even though the Director of Senior Sports realizes that as an outsider, he must proceed with caution. I came here in a culture that I should respect and I want to respect, but that culture should not stand in the way of judoka development. I’m not an expert, but I want to know why we do certain things. I expect the coaches to have answers to the questions I ask.

The Judo Association has identified three medals for the Paris Olympic Games. Until then, Ronnes has to gather everyone on the same page. I used to create something beautiful together, but who knows, I’ve been disappointed within a few years.

double gold

Dutch judokas Michael Correll and Your Spickers finished their first European Championship final with a gold medal. 28-year-old Corel won the up to 100kg weight class in a stretch to a grueling final against Paul Piotr Kuchera. Spikers settled in the heavyweight final (above 100 kg) with German Johannes Frey.

The 25-year-old Tillberger is already seventh at the European Championships in 2020, but has had to put up with Roy Mayer and Henk Grohl in recent years in his weight class. Grol finished his career last summer. Mayer won the bronze medal in Sofia by defeating Hungarian Richard Siebocks.

Corell has already won bronze at the European Championships (2016) and the World Championships (2019). He lost his first match at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Sanne van Dijke was unable to extend her European title among women. In the final weighing up to 70 kilograms, she had to get to know her boss in the French Marie-Yves Gahy and be content with the silver medal. Guusje Steenhuis also took the silver in the 78kg weight category. The 29-year-old has reached the final of the European Championship four times before, but has not yet been able to win the title.

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