The moment your baby is born is usually one of the most beautiful moments in your life. Marcel van Beijnen, goalball player of the Dutch team, experienced it last Monday. Three days before the first game of the Dutch team at the European Para Championships, his son Hugo was born.
Right after the lost game of the Netherlands against Spain (5-8), we see big smiles on the side of Orange, at a table at Restaurant RiVers in Ahoy. Marcel is sitting with his girlfriend and four-day-old son Hugo, enjoying this special week. “He was supposed to be born at the end of July, which turned into early August. He arrived just in time for EPC2023.”
The support at home and cooperation of national coach Krista van Alten made it possible for him to be here. “The tournament and my child are both of course very important things. Of course my girlfriend and child are number one, but you also live for the sport. These are of course the moments you want to peak at a championship like this.”
When the baby wasn’t here yet, things did get exciting. “The moment he is there, then of course it is looking together with the association coach, how we are going to do it. Can I start playing games, yes or no? And if so, how are we going to frame that? We managed that as best we could.”
Marcel missed the first training sessions in Ahoy. “I got out of the bubble between practices and went home. So I definitely didn’t leave my child and girlfriend alone. And if I wasn’t home, there was always someone there, too. We organized that well.”
Thursday was his first time at Ahoy. “I went to the hotel by cab very early Thursday morning. Then I joined the guys at breakfast. There I presented all my teammates a nice birth card. And today they gave me a romper, which Hugo is now wearing. Then we just went full focus right away toward the first match and by my own admission I was right there.”
Marcel admits that he has experienced quite a bit of tension over the past few days. “It’s all very special though. I don’t think you could have described this beforehand. Of course I have also been in suspense and you have to eventually learn to deal with that. Fortunately, I have a good friend for that who supports me and cheers me on being here in action at EPC2023. Without my girlfriend’s support I would never have been able to stand here.”
Without hesitation, Marcel closes the conversation by complimenting the staff and the other players on the team. “How they handled this situation, because it just creates a certain noise. Krista, the national coach, managed it very well and I do want to give a big compliment for that.”