Tell the story of our sport

Tell the story of our sport

For anyone who’s missed out, the posterior tip for this moment is “Sportlab Sedoc.” This is a TV show from former hurdler Gregory Seduc. In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, he looks at how athletes prepare for their gold medals and what role science plays in it. This week it was the turn of two-time world windsurfing champion and European surfing champion Kiran Badlo. He explained to me a number of things important to the popularity of our water sports, including the canoe.

First, the Sedoc zooms in to the athlete himself. We know Kiran (26) is 1 meter 96 high, weighs 73kg and is a great artistic surfer. What that means for racing will be explained later in the program. The advantage of the lever for the long arms, and the length of the body in combination with the light weight and the corresponding position on the shelf a number of scholars have their say.

For example, journalist Jurgen van Teeffelen uses an aerial photograph of Tokyo Bay and some surfboards to illustrate how the race works. 30 skaters participate in 12 races spread over 4 days. There are 3 races in a day of 20 minutes each and surfers should always start upwind. The track is constructed in such a way that they can sail towards the buoy. And because you have headwinds, you can’t go straight into the buoy, but you do have to make cruisers and make sure you are traveling as lightly as possible. Because that takes time. You have to avoid opponents that get in your way in a tactical duel. You also have to deal with the unpredictability of wind and current. To prepare for this, Kieran is helped extensively by the inner scientist from the Olympic Sailing Team and Watersportverbond: Douwe Broekens. Someone who knows by heart where the winds blow in Japan and knows every point in the landscape.

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I thought: What if Gregory Seduc played an item with slalom player Martina Wegman? What does it take to win the gold medal? What are your preparations and what does the race and track look like? That too would make for a great story. Something that all sports fans yearn for before the start of the games, because only then do you really understand what they do, how it works and what it includes. Necessary to experiment and maybe step to try it yourself.

So a plea for a more basic explanation of our sports.

Note: Sportlab Sedoc episodes can be watched on NPO Plus


Arno Van Gerven is the director of the Royal Dutch Aquatic Sports Association. Each week deals with current issues in water sports. Do you want to reply? Do this at [email protected]

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