The annual Olympic Training Centre at Papendal in the Netherlands reaches unusual high temperatures, with in the hall approx. 40 degrees and outside a sultry sun. Inside there is quantity as well as quality with lots of world medallists and Olympic Championships. Not just those from 2021 but from each Olympic Games of the last decade.
It is a good atmosphere though where hard work and fun are mixed in a team where there aren’t major events which results that athletes are open to show what they can. They don’t necessarily avoid their future opponents, but seriously make each other better and obviously try out their new grips and specific throws at various opponents. Two training sessions a day doesn’t keep the sun away and the sweat can be smelled from a distance.
Maybe on Wednesday rain is coming which could be a welcome and convenient alternation of the weather of the last weeks. The World Championships are the first major clash, although some cadets are also training at Papendal, the more mature ones who are preparing for their World Championships at the end of the month in Sarajevo. The Junior are in the preparation of the European Championship in Prague mid September. In between that time there are various training camps. Soon in France where the Japanese will arrive with a team and some teams will go to Valencia where there are always international athletes in combination with good weather (and beach).
At Papendal there is a strong team from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Israel, Portugal, Austria with most of their medal prospects. Of course lots of Dutch opponents for grab and enough quality from various countries all across Europe. Sometimes with small teams such as the u23 women’s team from France, the team of Flanders (BEL) or a small selection from Germany and Canada or the talent teams from Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Enough quality with World Champions Anna Maria Wagner, Jessica Klimkait, Jorge Fonseca, Matthias Casse and Lasha Shavdatuashvili and former world champions Noel van ‘t End, Guram Tushishvili, Sagi Muki and Yeldos Smetov to name a few. Let’s not forget Olympic Champion Lasha Bekauri and 2016 champ Fabio Basile, 2012 dominator Lucie Decosse (now coach of the U23 team of France) and 2012 surprise Shavdatuashvili who continues Olympic champions since 2012. Among the coach also Pawel Nastula and Udo Quellmalz, Olympic champions in 1996 in Atlanta. Udo Quellmalz who is in his new role as coach for the team of Flanders directly working with their hot prospects Casse, Libeer, Nikiforov and Salens to name a few.
The facilities of the National training centre at Papendal guarantee that the majority of the athletes will return next year and contribute to the preparation for the world championships. Who of the current athletes will take the world title? Browse through the pictures and you might have your predictive thoughts.