With fatigue from hard training still in the body, rowers are performing above expectations

Melvin Tueller wins the gold medal in the individual canoe and it is celebrated.Statue of Klass Jan van der Weig / de Volkskrant

Dozens of heads are bobbing in the direction of Melvin Tueller’s boat. The European Championship ended with a gold medal for the Netherlands. He rewards his strong final race by a narrow margin and at the moment his victory was confirmed with a score of 7.14.72 on the scoreboard, the Dutch rowers were making a massive jump in the waters of the Regattastrecke at Oberschleißbeim.

It is a typical Dutch tradition to swim to the champion after winning. It stems from student kayaking, and is part of the foundation upon which kayaking is built in our country. But the joy of the group this time also underscores how good the atmosphere is in choosing the association. “It’s very inspiring that we’re training together,” Rose de Jong said after winning the silver in doubles with Leyla Issoufou on Saturday. “In the beginning there was a lot of competition between men and women and now we lift each other up.”

As with a number of other sports, rowing was also spoiled after the Tokyo Olympics. There could have been an unsafe atmosphere. It wasn’t entirely clear how this happened. Technical director Hessel Evertse’s initial ruling was reversed by a judge.

athletes participation

Other changes in personnel have been made and maintained. Head coach Josie Verdonchot was bid farewell while Elko Meinhurst, who led the Tokyo duo to gold with a spartan training regimen, was promoted to head coach in November.

It may advocate a rigorous training approach, but at the same time Meenhorst provides more space for assessments between coaches and rowers and is open to athletes’ participation. It was he who broke down the walls between the different groups. Board oarsmen, those who row with one oar, and “rowers” who always use two oars, men and women—all are now part of one big group.

And that group was quite mixed. There was hardly anyone on the same boat at the European Championships in Munich as there was last year in Tokyo. For example, Abe Wiersma, a member of the Tokyo four gold double, took the silver in the eight in sunny Oberschleißheim.

Few peak moments

It was only this spring that Wesma was asked if he wanted to try it out on that bigger boat. he did. He understands why pawns are moved. This is the year for the experiment. Every opportunity to see is seized before the boats can put it down. This should lead to more medals in Paris in 2024 than the five in Tokyo.

In Oberschleißheim, a village outside Munich, the Dutch rowers weren’t at their best. Mainhurst believes that athletes should spend a few peak moments and train in between. The climax this year is the World Cup finals scheduled for September in the Czech Republic.

So he trained his pupils for the European Championship. They did not back down. However, there were four silvers (women’s doubles, four men’s, four without women, and eight men), three bronzes (two without women, eight women, and a women’s light oar) and double gold in the single rower. It was the first time in 93 years that the Netherlands won the gold medal at the European Singles Boat Championship. And that with the fatigue that is still in the bodies.

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