Minister pledges more funding for top Dutch athletes

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The government is going to spend an extra €10m to promote sport at the highest level so sportsmen and women with potential, as well as established athletes, will be able to compete internationally more often, online news service reports.

In a letter to parliament, sports minister Bruno Bruins said the money will be used to support and coach upcoming talents who may otherwise drop out of high level competition.

The letter comes in the wake of the surprise Olympic win by Esmee Visser who won gold in the 5,000 meter speed skating event in Pyeonchang and who crowdfunded her appearance at the games.

Bruins also wants six times the number of highly trained coaches, and new sports introduced to the Olympic or Paralympic games will also receive financial support.

‘The Netherlands is doing great in Pyeonchang,’ the minister, who is at the Olympics, told ‘But other countries are not sitting on their hands. If we want to keep up with them we have to do that little bit extra.’

Bruins said Dutch athletes do not compare themselves often enough with their international competitors, which is why they should be encouraged to enter more international competitions.