The Netherlands ended fifth in the medal table at the European athletics championships in Zurich this weekend, with three gold, two silver and one bronze medals.
Sprinter Dafne Schippers picked up two golds in the 100 metres and 200 metres. Her 22.03 time in the 200 metres was the quickest by a European since 1995.
Sifan Hassan and Susan Kuijken won silver and bronze in the 5,000 metres and Hassan earlier took gold in the 1,500 metres.
Schippers was the 10th woman to achieve the sprint double at the Europeans, repeating the performance of countrywoman Fanny Blankers-Koen who did so in 1950.
The other Dutch silver came from Nadine Broersen in the heptathlon, which is Schippers’ usual event.
According to the Volkskrant, the Dutch women did so well because of a deliberate policy to focus on sprinting and the heptathlon and the appointment of full-time coaches.
Migration has also had an impact. Hassan, for example, came to the Netherlands as a refugee from Ethiopia. Marathon runners Lornah Kiplagat and Hilda Kibet are Kenyan in origin.
The Dutch women were also tipped for a medal in the 4×100 metre relay but a fumbled baton change put them out of the running in the final.
Meanwhile at the European open water swimming championships in Berlin on Saturday, the Dutch team of Ferry Weertman, Marcel Schouten and Sharon van Rouwendaal won gold in the team event.
Weertman and Van Rouwendaal earlier won gold in their respective 10 kilometre events.
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