Generally to their very own shock, seaside volleyball gamers Katja Stam (22, left within the photograph) and Raïsa Schoon (19) make their Olympic debut on Saturday. In a world with out corona, the couple had adopted the Tokyo Olympics on TV final 12 months and their eyes had been on Paris 2024.
“The postponement of the Video games has been an obstacle for one athlete, for one more a bonus,” says Stam shortly earlier than touring to Japan. “Final 12 months we did not even take into consideration the Video games. There was additionally one other couple who had a view of participation through the Olympic rating.”
Ultimately, solely Sanne Keizer and Madelein Meppelink had been immediately seeded and Stam and Schoon took a ticket through the final qualifying event in The Hague. An additional match in opposition to the couple Marleen van Iersel/Pleun Ypma clearly favored the younger duo.
It was additional particular for Schoon, who comes from Werkendam. Her mom Debora Schoon-Kadijk participated within the 1996 and 2000 Video games and was a coach in 2004. “I can vaguely do not forget that final one. I used to be virtually 3. At the moment, I used to be raised by grandma and grandpa,” she says.
Till two years in the past, her mom was additionally Schoon’s coach. Even after that it remained within the household, as a result of nationwide coach Richard de Kogel is her uncle.
Katja Stam watches as Raïsa Schoon assaults.
Stam acquired a go to from Meppelink in school
Stam and her class at secondary faculty in Emmen occurred to have sufficient visits from Meppelink, an Olympic athlete from the neighbourhood, as a part of a mission. “She was making ready for the London Video games. I discovered it very fascinating.” Stam was a expertise and ended up within the nationwide youth choice through the regional coaching middle in Drenthe.
They’re completely different in stature – 1.92 (Stam) in opposition to 1.74 meters – however equal of their sporting expertise. “I am extra for the overview and I haven’t got that arduous ball like Katja hits. I do go to the bottom quicker. We complement one another,” explains Schoon.
“We discover enjoyable within the recreation essential and we now have the identical humor,” says Stam. Vital, as a result of they’ve been touring the world collectively for a 12 months now. “You are like a married couple generally.”
Coach De Kogel thinks that the opponents in Tokyo should not pleased with the internationally unknown Dutch couple as an opponent. Though it’s once more the query whether or not the Canadian world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes are awake from their first group match, Saturday at 5 a.m. Dutch time. In Ostrava at a World Cup they met twice. Stam and Schoon misplaced each occasions, albeit narrowly.
“It is an journey for them,” De Kogel thinks. “They’ve solely lately began the Video games. It will likely be a brand new expertise, however we now have to strive to consider it as a event like every other. They’ve already crushed many groups from the highest 15 on the planet. They discovered it a bit annoying , such a pair they do not know.”