Posts Tagged ‘world championships’

New and different challenges

(1 september 2015)

Tuesday August 11th 2015 during the magnificent World Championships in the Badminton Mecca, the Istora Senayan Arena in Jakarta, I played the last match of my international badminton career. I have decided to stop as a professional badminton player. After 18 years of badminton competition, of which the last 15 years as a professional athlete, a special period of my life has come to an end. I will now start with a new chapter.

Recently it became increasingly clear that the funding for our ambitious tournament plan towards the Olympics 2016 in Rio, as drawn up by the Dutch Badminton Association, was not feasible. The financial support from the association (a personal budget) proved to me personally to be far from adequate enough to cover the costs of the 21 qualifier tournaments that Samantha and I would have to play. 21 tournaments which were and are essential to gain points for the world ranking. Additionally, we lacked progression towards the top 10 in the world in our mixed doubles and our position in the top 20 of the world ranking was not enough to get additional financial support. Neither from the Association nor from the Dutch Olympic Committee. For me it is not possible to compete on the highest possible level without these crucial contributions.

With great pleasure and pride I look back on a wonderful time within the world of, in my view, the most beautiful sport there is. The badminton sport has taught me a lot and has led me to magnificent spots all over the world. In my early years, mostly in the smaller sports halls within Europe and in recent years in the world’s biggest arenas that exist within our sport. I have had the privilege to measure up to the world’s very best athletes at tournaments I’d only hoped to play, when I was a child. I celebrated successes, suffered defeats, dealt with disappointments, had lucky breaks and experienced euphoria. All these years I got (financial) support from people of different companies like e.g. Yonex and Footconnection, but also from individual people. I like to thank them all very much for their trust and confidence and the credits they gave me. They made it possible for me to be a professional sportsman throughout the years. They have made possible that I could achieve good performances, moments that I will always cherish. Naturally I also thank my partners with whom I have played together, my coaches, trainers, physios, masseurs and all other people who have been there for me throughout my badminton career. My biggest thanks go out to my parents, sister and girlfriend who always and I really mean always were and still are around. Family is the basis for everything and the basis is good! I am grateful for everything you meant for me and still mean to me. I love you!

The Highlights:

– European Championships: bronze individual, silver team
– National Champion
– 3x Finalist at the BWF Grand Prix Circuit, of which 1x Yonex Dutch Open
– Multiple winner and finalist at the Badminton Europe Circuit
– 36 caps for the Dutch National Team
– 7 qualifications World Championships, 5 qualifications European Championships,
3 World Team Championships selections, 9 European Team Championships selections
– Best World ranking: 16
– Best National ranking: 1

The Denmark China connection

(28 augustus 2014)

Last year Samantha and I had qualified ourselves for the World Championships which were then organized in China. Our Association didn’t have the funds to delegate us but with a crowdfunding project we got that much financial support that we were able to go.

This year the World Championships are organized by Badminton Denmark. The venue is the Ballerup Super Arena, some 25 km from Copenhagen. So not far to travel and because of that a lot cheaper for the Association to delegate us.

Early Saturdaymorning we fly to Copenhagen by KLM and we move into the Zleep Hotel which is located around the corner of the arena. Very convenient but far from urban life. So nothing to distract us and we can focus completely on our training and the matches to come.

The arena is originally build for cycling racing. But now it has been transformed into a fantastically decorated badminton arena. The Danes have managed to introduce something very innovative. When you are called for a match your name appears on a display at the court where you are playing, also showing your picture and the country you represent. When you start with the warming up the display is raised and changes into the life score board. Very ingenious. Apart from this the whole crew of volunteers helping to make this tournament a success are dressed in bright orange shirts. You will understand that we Dutch feel at home.

Our first match is scheduled Monday morning. We know our opponents, Kaesbauer en Herttrich, pretty well. Last March at the Swiss Open we were defeated by them in 2 games. So time for revanche.

In the beginning of the first game we both don’t give way but after the interval we manage to switch to an other playing level and even score 5 consecutive points. We take a good lead and soon we have game point which we don’t cash. At the second game point we take the win, 21-16. In the second game we fall behind pretty soon but again after the interval we score 5 consecutive points and draw level. After that we both don’t give way much, but in the final stage we get the first game point. Again we don’t finish it off. We come to 20-20 but then we score 2 points and win the match.

The second round on Tuesday is tough. We meet the Chinese Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, seeded 10th and number 11 on the world ranking. Only six months they are playing together and they have already developed to a “world class” mixed double pair. Well in advance we analyzed their playing style but especially new pairs do easily change their style sometimes. Of course they don’t play completely different now but the Chinese man was playing much better than we had seen on videos. Better control at mid court, no stupid choices, no free points because of service mistakes etc.

We make a good start in the first game and we don’t give way much. But then the Chinese accelerate and we can’t keep up with them. Two times they score 4 or 5 consecutive points and we don’t get a chance anymore.
We lose : 12-21. In the second game we offer better resistance but it’s no close battle at all. We lose the game by 16-21 and the match.

Of course we are not satisfied with the result (losing in the second round) but we are with the way we played these two matches. Our coach Kim is also satisfied and he sees much progress since he started his job 5 months ago. Our mixed in the World Championships is finished but the spirit is unchanged and high. A new season is about to start with new challenges and with good chances to improve our world ranking.

The past weeks Samantha and I, together with Kim, have looked at the tournament program for the months to come. Thereby we had to make the choice of whether to play Super Series in China and Hong Kong or not. Our coach and our intellect told us to go there but our financial situation told us not to go. The budget we get from our Association is not sufficient and with 4 more months to go we have very little money left. Still, after much deliberation we did cut the knot. In November we’ll play the Thaihot China Open and immediately after that the Sunrise Hong Kong Open. The cost of the tournament hotel in Hong Kong is higher than the cost of the return flight to Fuzhou and Hong Kong. This may give you an idea about how heavily this trip weighs on our budget. I do not intend to start a crowdfunding project again like I did last year. After all it’s not a World or European Championship we are talking about. But to us these two tournaments are equally important and I will not refrain from saying that any financial support will be more than welcome. If you want to make a contribution please send me an email at I will be very grateful.

Het verband tussen Denemarken en China

(28 augustus 2014)

Vorig jaar hadden Samantha en ik ons gekwalificeerd voor het Wereldkampioenschap dat toen in China werd georganiseerd. Badminton Nederland had geen geld om ons af te vaardigen maar met een crowdfunding project kregen we zoveel financiële steun dat we toch konden gaan.

Dit jaar organiseert Badminton Denemarken het WK in Ballerup. Veel dichterbij en goedkoper om te gaan. Dus vaardigt Badminton Nederland ons dit keer wel af. Zaterdagochtend vroeg vliegen we met KLM naar Kopenhagen en nemen onze intrek in het Zleep Hotel dat vlakbij de Ballerup Super Arena ligt. Ver weg van het centrum van Kopenhagen, ver weg van alles maar op loop afstand van de arena. We kunnen ons volledig concentreren op de trainingen en de wedstrijden die komen gaan want afleiding is er niet.

Het stadion waarin wordt gespeeld is gebouwd voor het baanwielrennen. De aankleding van de hal is fantastisch en de Denen zijn erin geslaagd iets nieuws te introduceren. Als je opgeroepen wordt voor je wedstrijd verschijnt je naam op een bord dat boven de wedstrijdbaan hangt, tezamen met een foto van de speler en je land. Vlak voor het inspelen gaat het bord automatisch naar boven en daarop verschijnt de livescore van de wedstrijd. Erg ingenieus. Verder lopen alle vrijwilligers die meewerken aan dit WK in oranje shirts. Het is dus niet moeilijk voor ons Nederlanders om ons thuis te voelen!

Maandagochtend moeten wij al vroeg aan de bak. Onze tegenstanders, Kaesbauer en Herttrich, kennen wij goed. In maart tijdens de Swiss Open werden we in twee games verslagen. Tijd voor revanche dus.

In de eerste game geven wij elkaar aanvankelijk niet veel toe maar na de interval kunnen we omschakelen en op enig moment zelfs 5 opeenvolgende punten scoren waarmee we ver uit lopen. Het eerste gamepoint verzilveren we niet maar bij het tweede pakken we de winst, 21-16. In de tweede game komen we al vrij snel op achterstand maar na de interval scoren we opnieuw 5 punten op rij en haken we weer aan. Daarna geven we elkaar niet veel meer toe. In de slotfase komen wij als eerste op matchpoint. Weer lukt het niet het in één keer af te maken. Het wordt 20-20 maar dan scoren we 2 keer en halen de winst binnen.

De tweede ronde op dinsdag wordt zwaar. De als 10e geplaatste Chinezen Lu Kai en Huang Yaqiong staan momenteel 11 op de wereldranglijst. Ze spelen pas een half jaar samen en hebben zich vrij snel ontwikkeld tot een ‘world class’ mix dubbel. We hebben ze uiteraard van te voren goed geanalyseerd, maar bij een nieuw koppel kan de speelstijl nog wel eens veranderen. Natuurlijk spelen ze nu niet compleet anders, maar vooral de Chinese heer speelde gisteren vele malen beter dan we op video’s gezien hadden. Meer controle vanuit halfveld, geen domme keuzes, geen gratis punten door bijvoorbeeld service fouten etc.

In de eerste game gaan we goed van start en geven we eerst niet veel toe. Maar dan geven de Chinezen gas en kunnen we ze niet goed meer bijhouden. Tot 2 keer toe weten zij 4 tot 5 punten op een rij te scoren en komen wij er niet meer aan te pas. We verliezen met 12-21. In de tweede game bieden wij meer tegenstand maar van een spannende eindstrijd is geen sprake. Met 16-21 verliezen we ook deze game en de wedstrijd. Niet tevreden met het resultaat (verlies in de 2e ronde), maar wel met de manier waarop we maandag en dinsdag hebben gespeeld. Ook onze coach Kim is tevreden met de manier waarop we hier gespeeld hebben en ziet grote vooruitgang ten opzichte van 5 maanden terug toen hij bij ons in Nederland begon. Het WK zit erop maar de spirit is er niet minder om. Een nieuw seizoen staat voor de deur met nieuwe uitdagingen en met goede kansen om onze positie op de wereldranglijst te gaan verbeteren.

De afgelopen weken hebben Samantha en ik ons, samen met Kim, gebogen over het toernooi programma voor de komende maanden. Daarbij kwamen we voor de keuze te staan of wij, naast de bekende toernooien in Europa, al of niet Super Series in China moesten gaan spelen. Onze coach en ons verstand zeiden ja maar onze financiële situatie zei nee. Ons budget van Badminton Nederland is absoluut niet toereikend en is al zo goed als op, terwijl we nog vier maanden moeten spelen in dit kalenderjaar. Na lang wikken en wegen hebben we toch de knoop doorgehakt en gaan we in november eerst het Thaihot China Open spelen en daarna het Sunrise Hong Kong Open. Alleen de hotelkosten in Hong Kong vallen al hoger uit dan de retourvlucht naar Fuzhou en Hong Kong, dus jullie kunnen je misschien wel een voorstelling maken hoe erg deze reis op ons budget drukt. Ik ga niet weer zoals vorig jaar een crowdfunding project beginnen. Tenslotte gaat het nu niet om deelname aan een EK of WK. Voor ons is het belang van deze toer echter even groot en ik wil niet nalaten te zeggen dat iedere financiële steun meer dan welkom is. Wil je een steentje bijdragen, stuur mij dan een mailtje op Mijn dank zal groot zijn.

Preparing for the World Championships

(28 juli 2014)

Right after we came back home from our Canada/USA tour we started a 6 week training program to prepare us for the World Championships in Denmark. We started with a “medium hard week” and last week was scheduled to be a “hard training week”. This means long lasting exercises on court, often executed in a two against one mode, many repeated exercises at the power training, long spinning sessions and a multi program on Tuesday and Friday which did not make me happy when I first saw the scheme.

You may wonder what kind of training I am talking about. For those who like to get an idea about what a training is like and who don’t mind a rather technical story I will explain below, by means of an example, the multi shuttle training we did last Tuesday.

When in the hall I start laying down the rows of shuttles. I soon find out that one, fully filled, big box of shuttles is not enough. I lay very many rows for the exercises to come:

3 x 20 shuttles are meant for the warming-up. The feeder shoots shuttles over the entire length/width of the court and of course at a rather slow pace.

Round 1

24 shuttles: high lob, straight forward smash preferably in the tramlines, move to the front field to finish off the following shuttles, move back diagonally to receive a high lob again, smash, straight forward and finish off at the net. This exercise is repeated 6 times.

24 shuttles: I am the front field player in doubles. I get one soft feed in the middle, move to my forehand side to cover my own half of the field, then the feeder shoots again two level shuttles. This exercise is repeated 4 times on my forehand side and 4 times on my back hand side.

25 shuttles: I am the back field player in the (mixed) doubles. I am constantly feeded in the back field as well as the center field and I have to shoot the shuttles over the net with as much variation as possible. Here a point of attention is to close the gap to the center field as quick as possible after a shoot from the back field. This is important in the doubles to avoid too much space between the front field and back field player. This way you can keep it a compact game.

25 shuttles: I am directed to all possible positions on court and I am constantly defending and trying to get the shuttle. A lot of twisting and turning, a lot of moving forward and backward, from left to right. An exhausting exercise causing an almost ultimate heartbeat.

18 shuttles: I am the service receiving player. I am ready at the service line and get a flick service which I smash, then the feeder gives a fast center field shuttle which I drive back right over the net which I get back and then finish it off at the net.

16 shuttles: Center field, side to side jumps. The feeder shoots, constantly changing from left to right, medium height shuttles to which I have to jump and smash them in the floor as hard as possible, all this preferably varying between cross court smashes and straight forward smashes in the tramlines.

25 shuttles: No front nor back field, better known as ”box”. In a fixed sequence I am directed from left to right. All shots have to be returned flat over the net and as offensive as possible, mostly by low powered and stopping strokes. The pace is high and in combination with the previous exercise this one is very heavy.

20 shuttles: I am front field player and I am only receiving shots which I have to return over the net from the front field. Either hard and flat strokes or soft and feeling shots.
This concludes round 1 and I am allowed a 1 minute break. Then the whole thing starts all over again till I have finished 4 rounds.

After these 4 rounds we start with the partner exercises which means that we act like we do in the doubles.

6 x 25 shuttles: without using the back court. The focus is on making fast speed from the center field to the net and return the fast presented shuttles overarm. Now it’s important that I keep on moving fast and explosively despite the acidification in the legs.

The final exercise is 4 times one minute in which you almost die. The feeders shoot a lob in the right back court which I return in the center field as a stick smash, followed by a center field medium height lob on the left side which I have to smash as hard as possible by jumping into it and to finish off the (third) returned shuttle at the net. Then it starts all over again. I do this twice to the right and twice to the left side. After the last minute ( I wasn’t aware how long a minute can be) I am completely worn out and drop on the floor where I have to lay down for a couple of minutes to recover.

Time for an update

(18 juli 2014)

My last report dates from more than two months ago when we returned with a bronze medal from the European Championships in Kazan. After the short-lived euphoria it is of course soon “business as usual” again. Finally Samantha and myself have only one thing in mind and that is to come back as soon as possible in the top 25 of the world ranking. The training led by Kim Nielsen is heavy but very inspiring. Especially tactically and mentally he knows how to make the difference.

Having the prospect of the World Championships in Denmark there is still much to do, including the safeguarding of the points that we achieved last year, before Samantha’s injury, at the Spanish Open, the Canada Open and the U.S. Open.

On May 21, we fly to Madrid for the Spanish Open. Fortunately, it is not too hot and the conditions are fine. We reach the semi-finals but here we must acknowledge the superiority of the first seeded pair Blair and Bankier. Eventually this pair also wins the tournament. All in all, we are not unhappy. As we don’t have to play the final we have the opportunity to explore the city of Madrid. It sure is a beautiful city with its Plaza’s and mercado’s. While walking around, you can taste the football atmosphere around the Champions League final between Real and Atlético which was played the previous night in Lisbon. We do not know yet that a few weeks later the Dutch soccer team will beat Spain by 5-1 in the first group match of the World Cup.

In the following month, everything is focused on the preparation of our North American tour that, unlike last year, starts in Vancouver this time and ends in New York. We are happy that Rune Massing will accompany us as coach. Even though we are only with 4 players, it’s still very nice to have a coach around that will help you in analyzing your opponents and preparing your matches.

On June 27, we fly with KLM to Vancouver. A smooth flight, on time and good care. After arrival we are picked up and brought to the place where we will stay. This time the event takes place within the huge campus of the University of British Columbia and we stay on campus. I have a small dorm room on the 14th floor with stunning views over the bay of Vancouver. The Rocky Mountains on the other side are partially hidden behind the clouds, but later in the week, with a clear sky they are wonderful to see. We took plenty of time to get used to the big time difference of 9 hours. This time I don’t really succeed to get used to it and when I start with the tournament I am not really rested.

The hall where we play is not pleasant. The mats are put directly on the concrete floor of this ice hockey stadium. Risk of injuries is obvious but despite protests from many players and team managers nothing is changed. We are first seeded and have to live up to that. Via a Canadian and two Korean pairs we reach the final. There we meet Max Schwenger and Carla Nelte second seeded. For my part it is not a good match and we lose, unnecessarily, with 18-21 and 21-23.

Sunday morning at 04:00 we are brought to the airport. We have a long journey to New York ahead of us with a 5 hour intermediate stop at Minneapolis. When at 06:55 our flight is ready to leave, one finds out that an EXIT sign is gone. Without that sign they cannot fly, so we disembark and wait what will happen. One and a half hour later we are told that we have been rebooked via Seattle. That trip goes smoothly and eventually we arrive one hour later in New York than our original flight plan. With a rental car and with Iris as navigator we drive in the dark to our hotel on Long Island. The sports center where we play is huge and the hall is well equipped but quite draughty, like most larger arenas. We have a few days to train and prepare us for the tournament.

The first matches are won by us, but in the quarter-finals, we come to face a Chinese Taipei pair. The first game we win by 19, but then they teach us who are the better ones. With this result we have to live. Not really a satisfactory end, because again I feel that we have not reached our level again.

As we fly back on Sunday we have Saturday to visit the Big Apple. It’s a wonderful relaxing day visiting a number of famous sights. We start at Ground Zero which is very impressive. From there we walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. Then we take the subway to Wall Street, recognizable from movies and television, walk again to Broadway, Central Park and we end the day at Times Square where we have dinner. In the evening this giant plaza is fantastically lighted and it leaves a special impression on me. At Penn Station near Madison Square Garden we take the subway back to the train station. After 14 hours of great New York impressions it’s time to pack our bags again in the hotel.

On Sunday we have the first KLM flight back to the Netherlands and after a 7 hours flight we arrive again at Schiphol Airport. It’s good to be home again. This week we have started with a 6 week preparation for the World Championships in Denmark. For the latest updates you can follow me on

Tijd voor een update

(18 juli 2014)

Mijn laatste verslag is inmiddels al weer van meer dan 2 maanden geleden toen we terugkwamen van de Europese Kampioenschappen in Kazan met een bronzen medaille. Na de kortstondige euforie is het natuurlijk al weer gauw “business as usual”. Tenslotte staat Samantha en mijzelf maar één ding voor ogen en dat is zo snel mogelijk weer terugkomen in de top 25 van de wereld ranglijst. De trainingen onder leiding van Kim Nielsen zijn zwaar maar wel erg inspirerend. Vooral in tactisch en mentaal opzicht weet hij mij een hoop bij te brengen.

Met de Wereldkampioenschappen in Denemarken in het vooruitzicht valt er nog veel te doen waaronder het verdedigen van de punten die wij vorig jaar, nog vóór de blessure van Samantha, behaalden op de Spanish Open, de Canada Open en de US Open. Dit is van belang om niet verder te zakken op de wereldranglijst.

Op 21 mei vliegen we naar Madrid voor de Spanish Open. Gelukkig is het er nog niet te warm en zijn de omstandigheden prima. We behalen de halve finale maar daar moeten we in het eerst geplaatste en geroutineerde koppel Blair en Bankier onze meerdere erkennen. Het toernooi wordt uiteindelijk ook door dit stel gewonnen. Alles bij elkaar genomen zijn we niet ontevreden. Omdat we geen finale hoeven te spelen is er gelegenheid om ook de stad Madrid wat beter te bekijken. Het is en blijft een mooie stad met z’n Plaza’s en mercado’s. Daar rond lopend, proef je ook de voetbal sfeer rond de Champions League finale tussen Real en Atlético die de vorige avond in Lissabon gespeeld was. We weten dan nog niet dat een paar weken later het Nederlands elftal Spanje met 5-1 zal verslaan in de eerste poule wedstrijd van het WK.

In de daarop volgende maand is alles gericht op de voorbereiding van onze Noord Amerikaanse tour die, in tegenstelling tot vorig jaar, dit keer in Vancouver begint en eindigt in New York. We zijn blij dat Rune Massing ons als coach zal begeleiden. Ook al zijn we maar met 4 spelers, het is toch erg prettig als er een coach is die je helpt bij het analyseren van je tegenstanders en het voorbereiden van je wedstrijden.

Op 27 juni vliegen we met de KLM naar Vancouver. Prima vlucht, op tijd en goede verzorging. We worden na aankomst opgehaald en naar onze verblijfplaats gebracht. Dit keer vindt het toernooi plaats binnen het gigantische terrein van de Universiteit van British Columbia en we verblijven ook op de campus. Ik heb een kleine studentenkamer op de 14e verdieping met een prachtig uitzicht over de baai van Vancouver. De Rocky Mountains aan de overkant gaan gedeeltelijk schuil achter de wolken maar later in de week zijn ze prachtig te zien. We hebben ruim de tijd genomen om aan het grote tijdsverschil van 9 uur te wennen. Dit keer lukt het wennen mij slecht en ik begin niet uitgerust aan het toernooi.

De hal waar we spelen is niet prettig. De matten liggen direct op het beton van dit ijshockey stadion. Gevaar voor blessures dreigt maar ondanks protesten van veel kanten is er niets meer aan te veranderen. Spelen dus maar. We zijn als eerste geplaatst en moeten dus proberen om die plaatsing ook waar te maken. Via een Canadees en twee Koreaanse koppels bereiken we de finale. Daar wachten ons Max Schwenger en Carla Nelte die als tweede geplaatst zijn. Het wordt uiteindelijk een, van mijn kant, niet al te beste wedstrijd die wij, met 18-21 en 21-23 onnodig verliezen.

Zondagochtend worden we al om 04:00 uur naar het vliegveld gebracht. Ons wacht een lange dag waarin we naar New York reizen. Als onze vlucht om 06:55 klaar is om te vertrekken komt men er achter dat een bordje EXIT is verdwenen. Zonder dat bordje kan er niet gevlogen worden dus uitstappen en wachten wat er gaat gebeuren. Anderhalf uur later krijgen we te horen dat we omgeboekt zijn via Seattle. Die reis verloopt uiteindelijk wel vlot en we arriveren maar een uur later in New York dan ons oorspronkelijke vliegplan. Met een huurauto rijden we, met Iris als tomtom, in het donker naar ons hotel op Long Island. Het sportcentrum waar we spelen is groot en de hal is prima ingericht. Wel staat er een hoop wind, maar dat is in de meeste grotere arena’s. We hebben een paar dagen om te trainen en ons voor te bereiden op het toernooi.

De eerste wedstrijden worden door ons gewonnen maar in de kwart finale komen we een koppel tegen uit Chinees Taipei. De eerste game winnen we met 19 maar daarna laten zij ons zien wie de sterksten zijn. Met dit resultaat moeten we het dus doen. Niet echt een bevredigend einde, omdat we voor mijn gevoel wederom niet ons niveau gehaald hebben.

Aangezien we op zondag terugvliegen hebben we de zaterdag om een bezoekje te brengen aan de Big Apple. Het wordt een heerlijk ontspannen dagje waarin we een aantal bekende sights bezoeken. Zo beginnen we bij Ground Zero wat erg indrukwekkend is. Vanuit daar lopen we naar de Brooklyn Bridge. Daarna pakken we de metro richting Wall Street, herkenbaar van films en tv, Broadway, Central Park en we eindigen op Times Square waar we ook eten. ’s Avonds is dit gigantische plein geweldig verlicht en het laat een bijzondere indruk op mij achter. De metro terug naar het treinstation pakken we bij Penn station, bij Madison Square Garden. Na 14 uur indrukken uit New York is het tijd om in het hotel de koffer weer in te pakken.

Op zondag hebben we de eerste KLM vlucht terug naar Nederland en na 7 uur vliegen landen we al weer op Schiphol. Het is goed om weer thuis te zijn. Voor wie wat meer details wil weten over onze wedstrijden in Canada en Amerika verwijs ik naar de verslagen die Rune heeft geschreven op de site van Badminton Nederland En voor degenen die geïnteresseerd zijn in onze WK voorbereiding die afgelopen maandag van start is gegaan, A12 richting Arnhem, afslag 25 naar Papendal 🙂

It has been quite a year

(30 december 2013)

It’s almost three months since I wrote my last article in which I mentioned that my partner Samantha had broken her foot and would be out of circulation for 4 to 6 weeks. After that there was very little to report.
Now that 2013 is coming to an end it is time for a brief look back at a year of which, from a sportive point of view, I had hoped it would have been better than it turned out to be. 2012 was very successful and I would have liked to continue that way. For several reasons it didn’t work out and that’s a pity.

The summer was definitely my sporting highlight. In July Samantha and I played two tournaments in North America and at the Grand Prix tournament in Richmond, Canada we were runner up. Our first Grand Prix final, a great result. Shortly after, we went to the World Championships in China. We could only participate after quite a struggle. We had to pay for this trip ourselves as the Association had no budget for the most important tournament of 2013. As sponsoring is difficult nowadays we started a crowdfunding project to try and collect the necessary funds for this trip to China. I am still very grateful for the financial support that we got from so many people and I am very proud that we really managed to get on court in Guangzhou. Moreover we also played a very good tournament. Although we lost in the second round, we played the European Champions from Poland and lost with the smallest possible margin. (19-21 and 20-22)

Once we were back home we were super motivated to continue on this road to success and work on a further climb on the world ranking. But then, in September, fate hit us. Samantha broke her foot. 6 weeks plaster and a long lasting recovery period lay before her and we could forget playing tournaments till the end of the year. To this day it is still uncertain when our comeback will be. The aim is to be back on court in February and let’s hope that this will really happen. I have been sick of this misfortune but unfortunately such disappointments also belong to sports careers. After I had taken a week’s holiday in October I was back on track again and from that moment on I did everything possible to get the best possible returns from my trainings and workouts. Now I feel that I am more than ready to start playing tournaments again in 2014.

Naturally my playing in the German Premier League was not influenced by all this so this became my “peak moment” of the year. Our team is unchanged from last year and when I say team, it’s not just a bunch of individual players but a group of players who have built up a close relationship, who have fun together and who are eager to try and improve the third place in ranking of the previous season. Until now everything is going very well. We are half way and we are number 1 in ranking. Every match I play for 1.BV Mülheim is a feast and I enjoy every single match.

2013 lies almost behind us, 2014 is imminent, and I hope it will be a year with very many fantastic (sports) moments to be enjoyed in good health. I wish you all a sparkling New Years Eve and all the best for 2014! Cheers!!!

Ni Hao Wuhan!

(29 juli 2013)

Last Friday Samantha and I finally left for China. After 3 months of preparation by means of our crowdfunding project it gave me a great feeling when I boarded the KLM Boeing 747 for the flight to Shanghai. After more than 10 hours flying we had to wait about 4 hours for our connecting flight to Wuhan. Waiting at airports we had done enough the recent weeks so we sat by again. Once in the air again time went fast because it’s not a very long flight. After we had collected our luggage we were met by two of Jie’s volunteers who were carrying a huge pink sign with our names on it. They took us to the hotel. It was the first time that we were outdoors here and we were hit by the heat. It’s 38 Celsius here and that’s steaming hot.

Once in the hotel we soon met the other Dutch guests Jie had invited. Apart from Erik Meijs, Koen Ridder en Ruud Bosch also Clemens Wortel, the chairman of the Dutch Badminton Association and boardmember Marloes van Heteren were present. In addition to the Dutch delegation there are also 3 Bulgarian ladies and from Spain Pablo Abian came to Wuhan.

With this group we enjoyed our first Chinese dinner Saturday evening and that was delicious. It felt good to be back in Wuhan again. Four years ago I was present at the wedding of Jie and Eric here and I had such a good time then.

Yesterday the finals of the Yao Jie Cup were scheduled. We all played half a game till 11 points against recreational players and a full game against players from the Province. Samantha and I played a mixed double twice and the others also played at least once. Despite the heavy jetlag all Dutch players won their games. Jie got a lot of attention from the (local) media and was also put in the spotlight by Clemens Wortel, the Dutch Association Chairman. It was a nice day for Jie with a lot of exposure. In the evening we all were invited for dinner by the main sponsor of this event and we had a good time again. Today we have started our training week here in Wuhan.

As China has blocked access to Facebook and Twitter I will update my website regularly so please stay tuned!!

China here we come!!!

(23 juli 2013)

Today, Samantha and I drew up the balance sheet of our crowd funding project. Although we have not quite reached the target amount we still can afford to go to China to participate in the world championships. All this thanks to all the contributions we have received. What has  helped us tremendously is the invitation of our former colleague Yao Jie to come to Wuhan, prior to the World Championships, and give a demonstration there together with the other Dutch World Championships participants. In addition to taking care of our accommodation in Wuhan and the journey from Wuhan to Guangzhou, Jie also offered, a generous allowance to contribute to the cost of our participation in the World’s. We appreciate this fantastic gesture of Jie even more since we now have a full week to acclimatize and to exercise and practise. Also on behalf of Samantha I would like to thank everyone again who has supported us the past weeks with a contribution made in cash or otherwise.

Moreover I attended the annual meeting of the Dutch Badminton Association on Saturday the 22nd of June. There the budget for 2014 was also discussed and approved. Part of that budget is of course the expenditure provided on the Elite Sport program. The amount assigned to travel to tournaments didn’t give me a positive feeling and made me realize that also in the (near) future crowdfunding projects will be more than necessary to get sufficient funds for an adequate international competition program. Therefore the bank account number will stay open for donations. The account number is: (IBAN NL81ABNA0) in the name of F. de Ruiter. Swift/BIC code ABNANL2A

Friday we’ll fly to Wuhan via Shanghai for our first week in China. On Friday August 2 we travel on to Guangzhou where the World’s will start on Monday, August 5! Of course you can stay informed about my experiences via Twitter and Facebook . You may look at or on

Are we going to make it or not?

(12 juni 2013)

On July 5, Samantha and I will leave for Orange County in California, USA where we will participate in the US Open. After that tournament we’ll fly to Vancouver for the Canadian Open and we’ll be back on July 23. Soon after we would have to travel to China. So by the end of this month we need to know whether we can go or not. Because at that time all the administrative matters such as tickets, hotel, visa etc. must have been arranged. Therefore the crowd funding project will end on FRIDAY 28 JUNE!. We still are some € 1350 short and it’s going to take quite an effort to reach our target. Unfortunately we didn’t get many more contributions the last few days. So if you still want to give us that last financial push to let us go to China it would be fantastic. (IBAN NL81ABNA0) in the name of F. de Ruiter. Swift/BIC code ABNANL2A

You can be sure of one thing: we appreciate the support we have already received from so many people and that also counts for the support we are still hoping to get!