The ramifications of the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continue to unfold minute-by-minute, with national policies and directives ultimately trickling down to the sporting world.
We reported yesterday how the top-tier Dutch swimmers had retreated to Drachten, staying in a monastery and training in a closed and controlled aquatic facility.
At the time, Royal Dutch Swimming Federation (KNZB) technical director Andre Cats stated, “Our top athletes would like to keep preparing for upcoming tournaments, but we absolutely do not want this to pose a risk to their environment. Our top athletes are also very aware of the risks of the coronavirus. That is why we take a close look at all home situations and our hygiene protocols have been raised to a maximum level.
Not 24 hours later and even seclusion won’t do for the Dutch national team, with the KNZB announcing the following today, Sunday, March 15th:
“As of today, the KNZB has stopped all top sports programs in connection with the coronavirus. These programs were already heavily modified, but are now also being shut down until further notice.
The decision follows the call of NOC * NSF to cease all top sports activities in the country. The KNZB had previously shut down all talent programs, along with all other activities organized by the association. A number of top sports programs continued, in a highly adapted form. For example, the HPC swimmers traveled to Drachten yesterday to continue training in a closed environment.
André Cats, technical director KNZB: ” The developments are moving so fast that we have to adjust our plans time and again. It goes without saying that we respond to NOC * NSF’s call. We hope that the situation in the Netherlands will stabilize in the foreseeable future.”
Maurits Hendriks, technical director of sports dome NOC * NSF, has decided that sports clubs will close all facilities due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“I made the decision this morning that we will close all training environments in the Netherlands, where all top athletes train. That is very rigorous and very painful,” says Hendriks at Langs de Lijn on NPO Radio 1. Training will cease for 2 weeks, at least for right now.
Hendriks is hoping other nations will follow suit in terms of limiting the training capabilities of Olympic-caliber swimmers.
“This must not be done in isolation, otherwise we will have uneven conditions during competitions. The situation must be the same for every athlete in the world. That must be the effort for the coming weeks.” (NOS)
Olympian Ranomi Kromowidjojo took to social media to describe the ever-changing environment the coronavirus situation instills on athletes everywhere. This post was from March 13th.
Unfortunately, it has been decided that the swim Cups / OKT in The Hague and Eindhoven will be canceled next month. This means we don’t have an OS qualification in April. This also means that the Ranomi Cup in The Hague will not take place in April. At the moment it is difficult to say what will happen in the coming weeks, months. In the sporting field this is of course super small, but this goes much further. As an individual, we also have responsibility for the elderly in our society. That virus does spread. We can try to inhibit the spread as hard as possible. Drastic measures are needed to prevent hospitals / IC from filling up in the whole of the Netherlands.
After all, who should decide who should and shouldn’t live? Grandpa and grandma with pneumonia. Or my dad who needs eye surgery. Or my brother who had a car accident? For the time being, I can continue to train in the Tongelreep. In addition to the strict hygiene protocol (washing and disinfecting hands, not cuddling etc etc), the measures are very strict. For example, we can no longer use the changing rooms, take a shower at home, we have a separate room for land training exercises and we also have to change clothes, keep away from each other and no (minimal) contact with others. Has anyone ever said DO NOT think of a blue elephant? Well …. I’ll find out now how often I sit on my face … really not now! Once again a big Shout Out and respect to our heroes who work in healthcare! Let’s hope that all of us will make sensible choices in the coming weeks and stay healthy as much as possible.
**** BREAKING **** At the moment I want to post this message, we have a scheduled team meeting. The Tongelreep is immediately closed and there is uncertainty whether it can be opened for us and for how long. The situation in Brabant is also uncertain. From tomorrow we go internally to a training camp with guaranteed safety hygiene etc indefinitely so that we can continue to train hard for our Great Olympic Dream for the time being.