Defending champion inspired by global progress
One team will be the undoubted favourite for the gold medal at the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019: The Netherlands, or TeamNL Korfbal as they are branded, consistent with other national sports representatives under the Dutch Olympic Committee and National Sports Federation (NOC*NSF).
Dealing with their own expectations, and those of their supporters, is a particular challenge for the team.
KNKV director Kees Rodenburg manages the TeamNL programme within the federation. He says the players embrace the responsibilities they carry for the greater good of korfball.
“Although The Netherlands is the home of korfball, we like nothing more than taking on the rest of the world. Our players are aware that the whole global korfball community knows who we are, and is watching us intently. To play for TeamNL Korfbal, they need to take on that role, and to relish being the centre of attention.
“We realise we are ambassadors for korfball. Our players need to show their passion, display their enthusiasm, and by doing that with joy, to encourage the world to fall in love with them,” he says.
TeamNL Korfbal spent four days in Barcelona in July leading up to the WKC, while a few weeks earlier the squad was in China successfully defending the title they won last year at the inaugural Eurasian Korfball Competition in Zhengzhou, defeating world second ranked Chinese Taipei in the final. Their preparations concluded in Papendal, the Olympic training centre, ahead of the flight to Durban.
“There is nothing better than to see what is going on elsewhere in global korfball. We experienced the development in China recently, where excellent foundations have been laid for our sport to take off right throughout Asia. Meanwhile, closer to home, seeing how the Surinamese community in the Netherlands has taken their national korfball team to heart, with the support the new federation has generated, makes Suriname one of the outstanding stories at this WKC. Not forgetting the remarkable achievements of Germany and Portugal, to both make the podium at the IKF European Korfball Championship 2018, all of which sets us up for a thrilling IKF WKC 2019.
“We have the big advantage that our players play in the Korfbal League, the best korfball club competition in the world. How great would it be if good players from abroad come and play in The Netherlands,” he says.
Although TeamNL Korfbal has lost the services of superstar Suzanne Struik, who retired from international korfball following the IKF EKC last year, and a record 69 international appearances since 2006, there is no shortage of fresh Dutch korfball talent set to light up this tournament: Marloes Frieswijk, Fleur Hoek, Olav van Wijngaarden and Harjan Visscher are among the nine TeamNL players attending their first WKC, adding to the experience of the likes of established superstars Celeste Split, Marjolijn Kroon, Mick Snel and Laurens Leeuwenhoek, who will play their third WKC.
Coach Wim Scholtmeijer is also back to guide the TeamNL Korfbal title defence. Despite their perennial success, he says every tournament is a new challenge.
“We always look forward to playing the different countries. Our mission is to stay on top of the world. We see it as our duty to improve in everything we do. We want to improve Dutch korfball so that the clubs, and the other national teams, can look at TeamNL and say ‘Those guys are innovators, we want to be like them.’
“We see that as part of our role, as the World Champion: trying to improve at every level, and providing inspiration to the rest of the korfball world.
“Although The Netherlands has won plenty of titles in the past, this is a new tournament. Our players are happy and enthusiastic to be able to perform with this team, playing the sport they live for with positive energy, friendship and love. They want to show that to the rest of the world in Durban,” says Wim.
#TeamNED IKF WKC 2019
1: Jessica Lokhorst
2: Esther Cordus
3: Barbara Brouwer
4: Marjolijn Kroon
5: Marloes Frieswijk
7: Celeste Split
8: Marjolijn Schenk
9: Fleur Hoek
11: Olav Van Wijngaarden
12: Jordi Pasma
13: Erwin Zwart
14: Harjan Visscher
15: Mick Snel
17: Laurens Leeuwenhoek
18: Nick Pikaar
20: Daan Preuninger
Coach: Wim Scholtmeijer
Manager: Peter Boeren
Officials: Jennifer Tromp, Leon Braunstahl, Ada Jansen
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Dani Ezpeleta2019-07-22 12:05:112019-07-28 07:32:57#TheTeamFiles: The Netherlands (IKF WKC 2019)