The Netherlands won its first Olympic medals this weekend, with gold for the women’s freestyle 4×100 relay team and a bronze for judoka Ruben Houkes.
Inge Dekker, Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskert and Marleen Veldhuis are world record holders in the 4×100 and were among the favourites to take the Olympic title. They won in a time of 3.33.76 – ahead of the US and Australia but not fast enough to make a new record.
It is the first time since 1936 that the Netherlands has won this event.
‘A country can always have one extreme talent, but winning gold in the relay shows you have a broad top level,’ team manager Charles van Commenée told the AD newspaper. ‘It is not a matter of luck. There is strategy behind it.’
In judo, lightweight Houkes was a favourite for a medal, but lost out in the semi-finals to South Korea’s Min-ho Choi. The 29-year-old from Haarlem beat Israel’s Gal Yekutie for the bronze.
There was disappointment too for the Dutch team. Hot favourite Marianne Vos finished sixth in the cycling road race. She takes part in the individual time trial on Wednesday.
The Dutch footballers can still qualify for the quarter finals but have so far drawn in both their matches: 2-2 against the US and 0-0 against Nigeria. Oranje has to beat Japan with a goal difference of at least two to go through.
The women’s hockey team had a strong start in their attempt for Olympic gold with a 6-0 win over South Africa.
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