Gold, silver and bronze – Dutch medal tally rises to 26

Emma Oosterwegel and Anouk Vetter after the heptathlon 800 metres. Photo: Olaf Kraak ANP
Emma Oosterwegel and Anouk Vetter after the heptathlon 800 metres. Photo: Olaf Kraak ANP

There was more Olympic glory for the Netherlands on Thursday with medals on the cycling and the athletics tracks.

Cyclist Shanne Braspennincx won surprise gold in the keirin cycling event, following in the footsteps of Elis Ligtlee, who took the same title in Rio.

It is the first major international title for Braspennincx, 30, who was second in the same event at the world championships in 2015.  The keirin is a sprint event which originated in Japan and uses a pacer on an electric motorbike to get the cyclists up to speed.

‘I don’t understand it,’ she told broadcaster NOS. ‘When I crossed the finishing line, I thought, “what have I done?”. I’m an Olympic champion.’

Anouk Vetter and Emma Oosterwegel took silver and bronze in the heptathlon, after a grueling two days of competition. The title went to favourite Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium.

It is the first time the Netherlands has ever won an Olympic heptathlon medal.


Elsewhere on the athletics track, the women’s 4×400 relay team qualified for the final as one of the fastest losers, after a storming final leg by Femke Bol.

Today’s medals take the Dutch total to 26, one more than record total set in Sydney, and puts the Netherlands in 10th place on the medals table. But given the Dutch have two more medals guaranteed – women’s hockey and boxer Nouchka Fontijn – the end stand will be at least 28

Sifan Hassan, who won gold in the 5000 metres, is also in action in the 1,500 and 10,000 metres in the final days of the competition. More cycling medals are also in the offing on the indoor track.

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