From the sprint to swimming: Dutch ones to watch at the Rio Olympics

Speed skating champ Sven Kramer helps hockey player girlfriend Naomi van As with her bags at Schiphol. Photo: VI Images
Speed skating champ Sven Kramer helps hockey player girlfriend Naomi van As with her bags at Schiphol. Photo: VI Images

The Netherlands has sent a team of 241 athletes to the Olympic Games in Rio which kick off later this week.

In total the Netherlands will be represented in 21 of the 28 disciplines at the games, well up on the London squad who returned with 20 medals, including six golds.

So it be medals galore for the Netherlands this year?  Here are some sportsmen and woman who stand a more than fair chance of bringing home the gold, silver or bronze.

1 Athletics
Dafne Schippers is, of course, among the favourites for the 100m and 200m sprints. Will she repeat her performance at last year’s world championships – silver and gold respectively – or will she do even better? The Dutch women also took the 4x100m relay title at the European championships in Amsterdam, so they too could be in for a prize.

In other athletics events, Hassan Sifan is considered to be a contender in the 1,500m while Anouk Vetter and Nadine Broersen have both made names for themselves in the heptathlon.

2  Swimming
Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Femke Heemskerk, Sharon van Rouwendaal and Inge Dekker have proved themselves over and over in the swimming events and are sure to make their way to the podium to pick up a medal in Rio, either for the individual or the team events.

For the 10k open water race, 2015 world championship silver medallist Ferry Weertman is the one to watch.

3 Water polo
The Dutch water polo team, good for gold in Beijing, may repeat that surprise performance.

4 Sailing
Marit Boumeester (Womens’ laser) and Dorian van Rijsselberghe (windsurfing) are both Olympic medal winners and are expected to do well. The Dutch rowing team won three bronze medals during the last world championships in Aiguebelette and could do equally well, or better, in Rio.

5 Judo
Henk Grol and Edith Bosch are among the best judo contenders, both having gained a bronze medal in London. Kim Pollling took gold at the 2014 European judo championships.

6 Gymnastics
Epke Zonderland and Yuri van Gelder are the Dutch hopefuls for the men’s gymnastics events. The Wevers twins may make the difference for the women’s gymnastics team.

7 Cycling
Tom Dumoulin was widely tipped as a gold medallist in the time trial event but after crashing out of the Tour de France, his participation is still uncertain.

8 Equestrianism
Reigning European and world champion show jumper Jeroen Dubbelman and his horse Zenith are definitely going for gold. Dubbelman is said to be focusing on a team gold as it’s the only medal that is missing from his collection. Hans Peter Minderhoud is tipped as a potential dressage medalist.

9 Hockey
They did it in London and Beijing and they could very well do it again in Rio: the Dutch women’s hockey team is in with a chance. Their male counterparts – winners of the European Championships final in 2015 against Germany – will be meeting the Germans again early in the tournament.

10 Other events
Other potential medal winners include Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst for beach volleyball, Niek Kimman (BMX) and middleweight boxer Nouchka Fontijn.

The complete list

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation