Four athletes start master’s program thanks to Telesport scholarships

Telesport offers four scholarships to Douwe de Vries, Aafke van Leeuwen, Michel Mulder and Koen Smet to study the Master in Sport Management and the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam

On Wednesday, September 2, former professional speed skater Douwe de Vries and multiple jiu-jitsu world champion, Aafke van Leeuwen, started the Master in Sport Management. On the same day, the Netherlands’ most successful hurdler, Koen Smet, also began the Master in Coaching. Michel Mulder, former 500 meter world and Olympic champion speed skater, will also start the Master in Coaching in January 2021.

The four winners have been given the opportunity to study these master’s programs thanks to the scholarships offered by Telesport. In this way, Telesport contributes to Johan Cruyff Intitute’s mission to educate top athletes after their sports career for a professional career in sport and to keep their knowledge and qualities within the sports industry.

Marcel van der Kraan, chief editor at Telesport, explains why these three athletes have won the scholarships: “The motivation that the speed skaters Michel and Douwe, jiu-jitsu champion Aafke and hurdler Koen showed to study the master’s programs and continue to develop their branches of sport was the reason why De Telegraaf awarded them the scholarships this year. All four show a real enthusiasm and passion for their sport. We look forward to seeing how they realize their ambitions after studying at Johan Cruyff Institute. But I already know that they are not going to disappoint anyone.”

Koen, Aafke and Douwe will graduate in June 2021 if their studies go well. Michel will receive his diploma a few months later, in November 2021.

Telesport

F.l.t.r Michel Mulder, Douwe de Vries, Koen Smet and Aafke van Leeuwen in front of the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam

Eleven-time Dutch champion hurdler Koen currently trains at athletics association Phanos in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam. The athlete, who trained in Cardiff last year under the guidance of world record holder Colin Jackson, is still in the running to qualify for Tokyo 2021.

Aafke is a successful jiu-jitsuka and has already been world champion three times in the under 70kg weight class. In addition to her top sports career, Aafke studied a bachelor’s degree in sport management in The Hague and currently works at SPORT • GOUDA as JOGG director.

Douwe put an end to his career as a marathon and long track speed skater in March this year. Over the years, he won five world titles in the team pursuit and in 2015 he won bronze at the World Championships in Heerenveen. Last year, Douwe became Dutch all-round champion. He finished his career with Team Jumbo-Visma, led by manager Jac Orie. At the moment, he is managing the Sven Kramer Academy.

Michel is the only Dutch speed skater ever to win the Olympic gold medal in the 500 meter sprint. He won gold at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the World Championships in 2013 and 2014. He was also active as a professional inline skater. He put an end to his speed skating career in January this year and is now the assistant coach of Team Reggeborgh, where his twin brother Ronald is still active as an athlete.

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