fleur1
Aug 18 2023

Fleur Jong also has to work hard in Ahoy

Barely three minutes after her entrance at Ahoy, Fleur Jong has to work hard. The world champion in the 100-meter and long jump gives a clinic during the European Para Championships, on behalf of her foundation Team Para Athletics. And that is appreciated, as evidenced by the smiling faces. Fleur Jong doesn’t set the bar low, by the way. “There was a little boy who said he already knew something about athletics, well then you’ve got a good one with me: then we’re going to get serious right away and learn something new.”

Just recently, Fleur was in the spotlight when she raced to the world title on her blades in the royal number of athletics in Paris. And now she has come to Ahoy. She is happy that there are no rows of autograph hunters there, but mostly enthusiasts who want to learn something from her. “Just now I also told a group of adults a bit about para athletics, let them sweat a bit.”

Team Para Athletics (www.teamparaatletiek.nl) was initially founded by Jong, fellow athlete Marlène van Gansewinkel and trainer Guido Bonsen, to improve the (training) facilities of para-athletes like herself. But now Jong has a much broader goal in mind. She also cares for young talents as well as educating both children and adults. “There are still many people with disabilities who do not play sports. I would like to introduce them to athletics. If they end up choosing another sport, I don’t mind. As long as they start moving. Although I will try to win them over to my sport.”

In the setting of the European Para Championships, she feels at home. “I haven’t had a chance to experience any of the sports competitions here yet. However, I will definitely do that later this afternoon.” She finds a championship like this a unique opportunity to offer athletes from different sports, but with the same disability, the chance to exchange views precisely with each other. “It’s a great opportunity to take a close look at each other’s orthoses and prostheses, for example. Everyone has had, or even still has, specific adjustment problems. Then it’s good to see how others solve such issues.”

Fleur herself has her sights set on young and old with disabilities who do not exercise or do not exercise enough. “Athletics, the sport of running, throwing and jumping, offers something for everyone, no matter what’s your disability. Athletics can make you fit and skillful. Even if, I am convinced, you have never really moved. For adults, the threshold is often a bit higher. Children are more open-minded, adults tend to have reservations. And yet I believe that everyone can have dreams and goals, even at a later age. Sport also gives you the chance to deal better with your disability, to learn to accept it. You get to show yourself as you are. You are unique, you can also explain that as something positive.”

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