Michael de Jong is closely following the proceedings in Beijing. “I watch all the sports.” This month she will have to do without her boyfriend Janno Bateman, her sister Antoinette and her friends Femke Kok and Marit Flederes, who are competing in the World Cups. “The time difference makes the day shorter, but I have a lot of connection with the coaches and the team there.”
“I’ll definitely follow suit,” says Beau Snelling. “I saw the team pursuit and five kilometers in Japan. I am actually from Five Kilometers and am actually looking for a team. Snelling finished the team event in fifth place ahead of his teammates. “They didn’t drive brilliantly in my opinion, but you can’t expect that from them.”
After several cancellations, national coach Rintje Ritsma invited the 22-year-old Jumbo-Wisma driver to train, but he didn’t think it was worth the trip to Obihiro. “It wasn’t interesting for me to go there. My health was not good and the two or three day trip – back and forth – was a bit too much for a team pursuit. That’s why I decided with Jack (Ori, Ed.) to stay in the Netherlands and take the next step towards the National Distance Championships.
Snelling’s ill health affected him in the World Cup Qualifying Race (WCKT), causing him to miss qualifying by five kilometres. For example, the winner of last winter’s Long Distance World Cup will now have to miss the first four strength tests. His coach Ori attributed his team’s unfortunate start to the new coaching approach. “I don’t want to blame the schedule,” Snelling says firmly. “I have 100% confidence in that.”
Michael de Jong would have liked to go back to where he made his Olympic debut. “Despite the jet lag, it’s great when you can skate on the other side of the world. I wanted to go to Beijing. We weren’t allowed to go anywhere at the time, and now I can see more of the area. It was an extra motivation for me when I was injured.
De Jong’s foot complaints started in training camp at Incel in late July. “At first I thought it wasn’t too bad. I wanted to continue because then I had time off and was able to recover. A strain in her jaw muscle kept her off the ice for five weeks. An uncertain time for a 24-year-old skater. “It was tough. We didn’t expect it to take so long. I lived by the week, sometimes even by the day. Mentally it demands a lot from you. Despite the small perspective, I had to be patient and hopeful.
“The WCKT is a race against time. I wanted to get the best out of every practice with as little difficulty as possible. It was nice to be able to compete. I didn’t take the injury too seriously beforehand because I knew in the back of my mind that it was still possible to qualify. I didn’t want to hedge before the race. . Because I had done my best, a little more than normal, and the exit was good when it was over. De Jong was one-tenth short of the World Cups. “Mentally I prepared myself for it, I took all the scenarios into account. Last year I was still placed at this time and this time it went much faster.
Daikin’s National Distance Championships were discussed several times in conversation with De Jong and Snelling. After WCKT’s disappointments, they changed their plans and fully embraced the new goal. Both are looking to qualify for the World Distance Championships in Canada at the end of December. If they do well in North America, missing out on a trip to Asia will soon be forgotten.
Beau Snelling skates in several marathons to get into the rhythm of competition. “I don’t think international races are necessary to achieve great performance. I have often participated in marathons, in Utrecht and six-way races. The sport is great fun, but I also know that I have a long way to go. For now, the marathon is a training incentive. During the WCKT I ran for ten kilometers in Stavanger. Qualified, so I’m really glad it’s still in the program.
A blessing in disguise for Snelling was that his teammates Kars Jansmann and Jorid Bergsma also qualified for the ten kilometers alone. “The three of us can make a good block. Also, one advantage is that we don’t have to make a long trip to Asia. My five kilometers two weeks ago had beautiful things. I’m still making some tweaks here and there, but I’m on the right track. I hope to show again at the end of December. I train hard every day to do that.
The past few months have been difficult for De Jong, but also academically. “There were many lessons during that period. I have to focus on my own process. Sometimes you get impatient and want to show it. At the beginning of the summer I really grew, my foundation was better and I was getting stronger. Last season I raced a lot and ran the 1000m for the first time at the World Cup and the World Cup. I sat near the stage a few times. That was the next thing I wanted to do. And in the Netherlands we drive the top 3 in quality, preferably a little better. But we will continue like this and hopefully I will be back in December.
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