Leiden athlete Amina Maatoug is leaving for Duke University in North Carolina this summer. (Photo: Gerry van Bakel).
Amina Maatoug is a rising star in Dutch track, road and field athletics. The American scouts also noticed it. Universities are always on the lookout for new talent. Maatoug himself chose Duke University in North Carolina, becoming one of the “Blue Devils” on their track team.
Her favorite distance is the 800 meters on the track, but Maatoug thinks she could be better at the 1500 meters in the long run. At the moment she does all kinds of parts: 400m, 800m and 1500m on track, cross-country in winter and in her hometown of Leiden she likes to participate in the five kilometers during the Leiden Marathon. And successfully. In November, Maatoug became Dutch under-20 cross country champion.
Sport071 presenter Gerry van Bakel in conversation with Amina Maatoug about transferring to an American university.
This title also resulted in qualification for the European Cross Country Championships in Ireland on December 12. Maatoug has become 21st and is happy with it. “The competition is fierce. Both other off-track middle-distance runners and athletes who run more on the road. And as a team, we came in fourth. No medal unfortunately. But the difference with the number three team was quite big, so in the end we were also happy with that.
With the good results came interest from American universities. “I have already received messages on my Instagram account. And in the end I went to get myself. Duke University is a good university for sports and specifically athletics, as well as finishing my philosophy degree. I’m leaving for two years. I will definitely miss my family and Leiden, but it’s also a great opportunity.
His current coaches at Leiden Athletics Bram Wassenaar and Han Kulker are encouraging change. “They said I could always call if I had any questions.” Maatoug does not want to speculate on the future. “I just want to play good sport, improve myself. I don’t know if I will ever be able to go to the Olympics. I will train with very good athletes in America, I think I will learn a lot.
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