It is finally here: today marks the start of the Great Dutch Student Championship (GNSK) which will last three days. What can we expect? How are Wageningen’s chances? And which city will succeed Nijmegen? Resource spoke with GNSK press information officer Luc Roefs.
© Sven Menschel
Luc Roefs is excited. ‘The last time GNSK was held in Wageningen was in 1999. The city has really grown since, and the university even more so. This is a unique opportunity to show that, even though we are a small city, we are really well-organised regarding sports’, says the press information officer of the GNSK board. The organisation is giving its all for this event, including a very first triathlon at a GNSK. ‘Three disciplines in one… that is a real challenge for the organisation. As is cycling, in which we have various routes.’
Last year, Wageningen ended in fourth place, behind Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Groningen. A great feat, but Roefs is ambitious. ‘I think we will do even better this year. We are competing in many sports, which gives a better chance of ending high in the final rankings. And we are playing a home game. In a discipline such as cycling, this really is an advantage. A place among the top three would be great.’ Roefs considers Nijmegen and Eindhoven to be Wageningen’s main rivals.
Where are the hopes and chances for the Wageningen delegation? ‘We compete for the prizes in many events’, says Roefs. ‘In Olympic weightlifting, we have a top athlete in Douwe Zantinge. And then we have Julie von Gruenigen for the triathlon. The basketball ladies are in it for the win too. And the ladies’ handball team ended third last year; this year, they will win.’ Roefs also has high hopes for Ultimate frisbee, fencing, football and cycling.
Every year, GNSK supports a charity. This year’s charity is Running Blind, a foundation that helps visually impaired people practise sports. Roefs: ‘We want to do more than just donate money: we want to raise students’ awareness of this impairment.’ To achieve this, Running Blind will be providing clinics on Saturday, during which GNSK participants will be able to experience how it is to play sports with a visual impairment.
All of Wageningen can come
The organisation would like to involve the city as well. Roefs: ‘We have invited Wageningen sports clubs and residents. It might be a student championship, but all of Wageningen can come to watch.’ People can do this from the SUSA stands (sports hall 4 in De Bongerd), for example, where they can watch basketball matches on Friday and Sunday and watch gymnastics on Saturday. The WeDay tent next to De Bongerd will host boxing, and the football and rugby matches will take place at Sportpark de Zoom.
Visit www.gnsk.nl for schedules and further information, or download the GNSK mobile application (Android: GNSK Wageningen, iOS: GNSK).
GNSK facts and figures:
- With around 1500 athletes, coaches and volunteers, the GNSK is the largest student sports event in the Netherlands.
- Eight sport disciplines recur annually: badminton, basketball, handball, fencing, squash, tennis, football and volleyball.
- And then there are additional optional sports. This year, these are: beach korfball, boxing, weightlifting, hockey, rugby, triathlon, gymnastics, Ultimate frisbee and cycling.
- Three of these optional sports are making their GNSK debut: weightlifting, triathlon and gymnastics.
- The campus, including De Bongerd, is being converted into a large festival area.
- This is the second GNSK to be held in Wageningen.