The Dutch water polo gamers are collaborating within the Olympic Video games in Tokyo for the primary time for the reason that sensational Olympic title in 2008. Nationwide coach Arno Havenga, who was there 13 years in the past as workforce supervisor, hopes for a brand new stunt, though he himself is the one hyperlink with the golden workforce of Beijing.
Do not count on Havenga to flood its gamers with tales concerning the biggest Dutch water polo success in latest weeks. “I don’t consciously maintain the 2008 Video games away from my workforce and naturally they generally ask about it, nevertheless it doesn’t make a lot sense to make comparisons,” says the nationwide coach in dialog with NU.nl.
“The one similarity is that within the week earlier than the Video games we additionally educated along with the USA. Moreover, all groups are utterly completely different, the principles have modified and the standing of our workforce is not the identical. The state of affairs just isn’t the identical. corresponding to that of 13 years in the past.”
The Dutch water polo gamers solely took half within the Video games in 2008 for the second time. The workforce of the then nationwide coach Robin van Galen misplaced two of his three group matches, however then grew into one of many greatest Dutch surprises in Beijing attributable to three thrilling matches within the knockout part.
“We had fairly unexpectedly certified for these Video games, having solely completed ninth on the World Cup in 2007. Confidently we received gold in Beijing. Lately we’ve got received medals on the main tournaments,” Havenga refers to, amongst different issues. silver on the 2015 World Cup and gold on the 2018 European Championship. “So it will shock me if individuals underestimate us once more.”
Arno Havenga (middle) was the workforce supervisor on the profitable 2008 Olympic Video games.
‘Just a few gamers have been solely seven years outdated in 2008’
The 13 gamers from the golden workforce have all stopped enjoying water polo. Yasemin Smit was the final to say goodbye to Orange in 2017. “The traces are quick, lots of women in my workforce know Yasemin. However there are additionally gamers who have been solely seven years outdated after we turned Olympic champion in 2008,” says Havenga with a smile. “They noticed the ultimate within the playground.”
“The Olympic title in Beijing stays a implausible achievement, a benchmark in Dutch water polo. My gamers and I’ve no drawback speaking about it, however we do not search for it particularly both.”
The present Orange can write its personal Olympic historical past as a result of the workforce lastly certified for the Video games in the beginning of this yr on the Olympic qualifying event (OKT) in Trieste. In 2012 and 2016, issues went dramatically improper on the OKT.
“Our qualification was a affirmation of the exhausting work we’ve got finished in recent times,” mentioned Havenga. “Now we wish to get essentially the most out of it right here in Tokyo. Though the Video games are bizarre, it stays a really particular occasion, which we’re actually wanting ahead to.”
Can that yield one other gold medal in two weeks? “America are the massive favourite,” says Havenga concerning the defending champion. “We’re within the group just under that. There are eight nations that may hope for a medal, however that’s the purpose that we’ve got collectively expressed. And if that ends in one other water polo hype within the Netherlands, that could be a good by-catch. “
Group stage program (Dutch occasions)
- July 26 (11.20am): Netherlands-Australia
- July 28 (12.50 pm): Netherlands-Spain
- July 30 (7:00 am): Netherlands-South Africa
- August 1 (8:30 a.m.): Netherlands-Canada