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Top-class sport during the coronavirus pandemic – Ruth Vorsselman

12 June 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has left elite athletes with an empty sports calendar. How long this will last is anybody’s guess. Who are these elite sports students at the University of Groningen? How are they coping with the situation and how are they staying fit? Today, we are speaking to Ruth Vorsselman.

Who is Ruth?

‘I’m Ruth Vorsselman, I’m 23 years old and I live in Kampen. I’m a Biomedical Engineering student, and I take part in canoe sprint. At primary school, we were able to try out various sports as part of a programme called “youth in action”. I chose canoeing and I was hooked from day one. Canoeing is a sport that requires you to use your whole body. Your abs and your legs are even more important than your arms, as this is what gives you the speed. It’s a great sport because you do it outside, on the water. I like water sports a lot. The aim of a race is to cover a certain distance as quickly as you can. I have already won the Dutch championship a number of times for competing in various distances in a single canoe, and I’ve taken part in several under-23 European and World Championships. My best achievement until now was coming fourth in the B-final of the 500 metres at the under-23 World Championships. I’m getting closer to the A-final every year!’

How do you manage to combine top-class sport with your studies at the UG?

‘That’s not too difficult for me. I do an individual sport, so my training schedules are quite flexible and I can usually plan sessions around my lectures. If I’m really busy at uni, I sometimes skip training. I think I could do better in this respect.’

How do you see your future?

‘I’d love to compete in an A-final at the World Championships. I’m preparing for graduation at the moment and intend to start work soon, so I hope that I’ll be able to combine my job with canoeing.’

How is the coronavirus affecting your life as an elite athlete?

‘The worst part is that there are no competitions this year, and these are what you train towards. This was my last year competing in the under-23s, and I would have loved to reach an A-final. Luckily, I was able to keep training at the club throughout the coronavirus pandemic despite the changing rooms and showers being out of bounds. I can do my weight training at home and I’ve been running and mountain biking to help me to stay fit.’

Ruth in boat
Last modified:30 June 2020 4.00 p.m.
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