“When I think back to the championships in the past, it was unthinkable for anyone in Dutch athletics,” says Van Commenee. “It was difficult to imagine that we would one day play such a dominant role over this distance. This was reserved for the big athletics countries like Great Britain or Germany”, explains the former head of mission of the Dutch Olympic team and former Technical Director of the British Athletics Association.
“There are a number of components that determine this Dutch success. Of course, training. With Laurent Meuwly and Bram Peters we have two top coaches who complement each other wonderfully. Then there is the talent and dedication of the athletes. . They have created a feeling of group in Papendal in which they benefit from each other. They not only compete with each other, but they also train with each other. There is great solidarity and great competition at the same time. time. “
Van Commenee also adds that the 400 meters is an integral part of athletics. “For songs like the 60-meter sprint or the javelin throw you need more than one innate talent, in the 400-meter you can go really far with training.” The head coach praises the benefits of the Papendal Sports Center, where all facilities for top-level sports are available. “The coaches are gathered here and working together and the athletes are choosing to move to the sports center and stay there permanently.”
Femke Bol has sort of a pioneering role, despite being 21, Van Commenee says. “Not only is she exceptionally talented, but she has a lot of discipline and is good to train. Other athletes see it too. A slightly older athlete who was struggling with consistency and discipline told me: Femke Bol in me. To show how disciplined she practices her sport: eating on time, sleeping and creating consistency. She is an example. “
Van Commenee also relaunched Bonevacia’s career. The 31-year-old Dutch record holder has performed poorly in recent years and wanted to quit last summer. “Liemarvin was a little late in his life. I saw that if he continued like this, he would remain a mediocre athlete who would probably fly away in the first round of the championships. A situation that does not do justice to his talent. So I persuaded him to come to Papendal. Initially he had doubts, he also had contact with a coach from Puerto Rico to Bahrain. But the structure is with us, that is to say the boys together and the coaches who mark the boundaries. Full time or not. “