Nieuws - 16 januari 2012

Dutch champion but not nominated

Only one sportsperson has been nominated for the title of sportsperson of the year 2011 in Wageningen. And it is not athlete Ate van der Burgt.

Ate van der Burgt winning the 1,500 metres at the Dutch indoor championships in 2011
Van der Burgt, a PhD student of Bioinformatics became Dutch champion in the 1,500 metres for the first time in February last year. This is his distance and he managed, as he had done two years earlier, to win a place in the European championships team. He was defeated in the series at this event.


This achievement merited a nomination, acknowledges Henk Kuiper, the chair of the sports council which organizes the election. 'He wasn't nominated by anyone, not even his own club, Tartlétos, and as far as I know, he didn't achieve anything particularly spectacular this past year, and he was injured.'

Kuiper says you cannot accuse the Sports Council of not doing their best to find candidates. 'We informed all the sports clubs that they could nominate candidates. Even other Wageningen residents were welcome to make suggestions.'

Not in the limelight
Van der Burgt did not even notice that he was not on the list - he was too busy with his work, his sport and his family. But he does not really mind, although he did enjoy his previous nominations and being chosen (1998). 'I don't draw a lot of attention to the fact that I am involved in sport. I don't feel the need to be in the limelight. Last year I told Tartlétos, too, that I didn't want to be seen as the club's leading light, even if I had done the best.'

That does not mean he is not proud of his peak performance last spring. 'But for me, the recognition I got straight after the race, and that I still get on the track from my fellow athletes, is more important.'
The Wageningen sportspersons of 2011 will be announced at the Sportcafé  at the Bongerd on Monday evening, 16 January. The nominees include several students: skier Anna Jochemsen among the women, hockey player Karlijn van der Linden (WHMC) among the teams, and water polo players Carlijn Wietses and Eefke Vennegoor (De Rijn).