Amina Matuj, a Leiden player, is leaving for Duke University in North Carolina this summer. (Photo: Jerry Van Buckle).
Amina Maatouk is a rising star in Dutch track, road and field athletics. The Scouts of America also noticed this. Universities out there are always looking for new talent. Matug himself chose Duke University in North Carolina, to become one of the “Blue Devils” for the track and field team.
Her favorite distance is 800m on the track, but Maatouk thinks she could do better at 1,500m in the long run. At the moment she does all kinds of parts: 400m, 800m and 1500m on the track, cross-country runs in winter and in her hometown of Leiden, she loves to participate in the five kilometers during the Leiden Marathon. And successfully. In November, Maatouk became the Dutch under-20 cross champion.
Sport071 presenter Jerry Van Buckle talks with Amina Maatouk about her transfer to an American university.
This title also led to qualification for the European Cross Country Championships in Ireland on December 12. Maatouk is now in 21st place and he is happy with that. “The competition is fierce. Both are other off-track middle-distance runners and athletes who run the most on the road. As a team we finished fourth. Just no medal unfortunately. But the difference with team number three was pretty big, so in the end we were happy with that too.”
With good results came the interest of American universities. “I actually got messages on my Instagram account. Finally I went looking for myself. Duke University is a good university when it comes to sports and athletics specifically, as well as completing my studies in philosophy. I’m going for two years. I will miss my family and Leiden for sure, But this is also a very great opportunity.”
Her current coaches at Leiden Athletics encourage Bram Wassenaar and Han Kulker to switch. “They said I could always call if I had any questions.” Maatouk does not want to speculate about the future. “I just want to do a good sport, develop myself. I don’t know if I can go to the Olympics. I will train with very good athletes in America, and I think I will learn a lot.”
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