Athlete Nadine Visser has just returned from the athletics World Championships in Beijing and is resuming her degree in Health and Society at Wageningen University. In China she came eighth in the heptathlon and was part of the Dutch relay team in the 4 x 100 metres.
In Wageningen she can easily combine elite sport with studying, she says. Her next major objective is the Olympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. She is very enthusiastic about the ‘elite sport scheme’ at the university. ‘I don’t think Wageningen has any particular scheme on paper for elite athletes, but in my opinion they make better provisions for them than universities that do. Together with the study advisor, I have put my own programme together, which courses I am taking and when. I don’t need to achieve a certain number of ECTS and I can take an extra year to complete my degree. This gives me great peace of mind; it is not a good thing if a study programme creates stress. What’s more, most lecturers are happy to help me come up with solutions whenever I can’t attend lessons - provided I explain my situation in good time before the start of the course. So everything suits me really well at the university.’
She looks back on the athletics World Championships with satisfaction. ‘The first day of the heptathlon went very well, with a good time in the hurdles: just four hundredths of a second outside the Dutch record. And a personal best in the high jump (1.80 metre). On the second day, the long jump was very disappointing and in the javelin too I lost a lot of points. Ultimately, I came eighth and I am very happy with that.’
She almost won a medal in the 4x100 m women’s relay. ‘We had a fabulous team and could have got a medal, but unfortunately the last handover went badly.’