Looking back on 2014

2014 is almost history! For me personally it was a great year with many beautiful moments. I will give a short review.

The start of 2014 was already promising. On January 2nd we were informed that we would get a new full time trainer/coach: Kim Nielsen, who was a coach of the Danish National team for quite some time. He would start on April 1 and really settle himself in Arnhem. Apart from that the first two months of the year were mainly dedicated to the German Premier League as Samantha’s foot injury kept us from playing international tournaments. In the League Mülheim is performing very well and we have a lead of a few points.

By the end of February Samantha and I are finally ready for our comeback in the international circuit.
In my “home port” Mülheim we play the Yonex German Open. We have low expectations but we are more than happy to be on court again. We make a good win in the first round but in the second round we are just a little bit short to stunt against a top 20 pair from Hong Kong. Nevertheless it’s a promising kick off.

From mid March till mid April we practise very hard. We prepare ourselves for the European Championships in Kazan, Russia and I am fit. A European medal is one of my goals for this year but given the backlog that we have accumulated it’s not very realistic. Once in Kazan we win the first two rounds and we are in the quarter finals. There we will meet the number one Russian pair Durkin and Vislova. All of a sudden we are only one match away from a medal. This Friday, April 25, I can call the most special day from my badminton career so far.
Our match is scheduled in the early evening and the day seems to be endless. A few hours before the match I am ever so nervous. Once in the arena the nerves make way to an adrenaline rush I have never experienced before. We enter the court, we win the first game and lose the second. In the third game it’s all or nothing. We get excellent feedback and instructions from our coaches Kim and Rune. Towards the end of the game we manage to take a small lead of 2,3 points. I still remember the match point. The four of us exchange glances, we are determined to make this point! Then we play a long rally with a final winner at the net! The entire stadium is silent, but I scream, run around and jump. I am beside myself of excitement. We hug each other, the coaches and our masseur Gerrit. We have just won the first mixed doubles medal for The Netherlands in 12 years. I am overjoyed!

XD all medallists

The next day, in the semifinals, the Danish top favorites Fischer and Pedersen are our opponents. We don’t stand a chance and we lose in two games. The day after is the medal ceremony and Samantha and I stand between the other 3 pairs, all Danish, with a medal around our neck. We are proud to be on that stage after such a difficult period. Those 7 minutes of the ceremony made me forget all disappointments and earlier losses. They were more than worth it. I enjoy every second of the ceremony: you may watch yourself

On May 11th I play together with my teammates of 1.BV Mülheim the final of the German Premier League. We meet Lüdinghausen in their sportshall. For all the badminton lovers it’s a great afternoon with beautiful and exciting matches. Marcus Ellis and I open the score with a win but unfortunately we lose the ladies doubles, both men’s singles and the ladies single. This leaves us with the runner up position and we are really disappointed. Still we are proud of this result and of the great season. Last year we ended third, this year 2nd so hopefully next year…………….

At the start of the summer period we play the Grand Prix (Gold) tournaments of Canada and the USA. In Vancouver we reach the final. We meet the German pair Schwenger and Nelte at the same time the Dutch National Soccer team plays Costa Rica in the quarter final of the World Championships Football in Salvador, Brasil. They win but we lose in two games. Quite disappointing.

Back in Holland we start to prepare for the World Championships in Copenhagen. 6 weeks of hard and intensive training at a very hot and sweltering training centre Papendal.
The MH 17 disaster on July 17 touches me deeply. So many innocent victims. It also makes me realize myself how often I have flown this route myself. It makes me even more aware again of the fact that I have to be grateful for every day I am allowed to do what I like most: playing badminton.

The World Championships tournament in Copenhagen is a special event. Samantha and I make a good win in the first round but in the second we lose against a Chinese pair. I stay in Copenhagen and my girlfriend joins me and we watch the semi finals and the finals together. We enjoy every minute! On Sunday we witness the spectacular win of Carolina Marin. A Spanish world champion! I believe this is the ultimate proof of what you can achieve with hard work and the right attitude.

The period October through November is very busy. We have 6 tournaments ahead of us and after every 2 events a week of intensive training is scheduled. At the Yonex Dutch Open we perform at our absolute top level. This tournament is used to test the new scoring system 5 games to 11. After 4 good wins we are facing the Indonesian pair Widianto and Dili in the final. We take a 2 games to 1 lead and in the 4th game we make a good start but the Indonesians still manage to win it. In the fifth and final game we don’t stand a chance anymore and we fail to win the tournament. Of course we are very disappointed about this result but at the same time we are more than proud of the performance we showed.

Pure emotie

For the Asian Super Series in China and Hong Kong we drew the same opponents in both tournaments….Widianto and Dili. In the meantime this pair has come to the 11th place on the world ranking. In the gigantic arena of Fuzhou we play a very good match with many long rallies. In 2 games we take revenge for the loss at the Dutch Open. In the second round we had to acknowledge the former world champions the Indonesians Ahmad and Natsir as our superiors.
Exactly one week later, in Hong Kong, we were again facing Widianto and Dili. This time we fail to get grip on the match and we lose in 2 games. In the mean time we did manage to reach the top 25 of the world ranking again, which was one of the other goals this year.

Now at the end of December I look back with pride and pleasure at a year which has brought me a lot of wonderful things. An European Championships medal, finals at Grand Prix tournaments, winning from a pair which is in the top 10 now, number 23 on the world ranking and the final of the German Premier League. But above all I retrieved my playing pleasure which I had lost at the end of 2013.

2015 is almost here, an important year with again many new and nice challenges. Supported by my family, my girlfriend and my sponsors I am more than ready to battle again!

I wish you all a successful, sportive but above all healthy 2015!

bronze medal

Proud European Championship medal winner

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Post a comment

SPAM test: maak s.v.p. de rekensom af