In an exclusive interview with Total Waterpolo, we had the privilege of speaking with Brigitte Sleeking, the shining star of the Netherlands national team. Brigitte shares her insights and thoughts on the highly anticipated upcoming World Championship in Fukuoka, offering a captivating glimpse into the team’s preparations and aspirations for the prestigious tournament.
Brigitte Sleeking has achieved remarkable success throughout her career with the Dutch national team, earning accolades such as a gold medal at the European Championship in 2018, a silver medal at the World Cup in 2023, and a bronze medal at the World Championship in 2022.
Throughout the history of the World Championships, the Dutch national team has showcased remarkable performances, securing gold medal in 1991, four silver medals in 1986, 1994, 1998, and 2015, and bronze medal in 2022. Building upon their recent success, where they clinched a silver medal in the World Cup last month, the team now sets its sights on the upcoming World Championship with renewed determination, aiming to add another prestigious medal to their impressive collection. Brigitte told some about that.
In the World Cup, we showed that we are in good shape. It’s a realistic goal to win a medal but of course, the top-6 teams are always really close in these games. We will take it step by step and focus on ourselves.
Recently, the Netherlands secured a silver medal at the World Cup held in Long Beach. Brigitte, who witnessed this achievement, shared her captivating impressions of the event.
I think we did a good job and we can be happy for now with this result and the way we played. Of course, there are things that we have to improve for Fukuoka. But also to play these high-level games is important for us.
Sleeking highlights the dedication of a team that embarked on a journey, flying from California to Japan to compete in a single intense competition. Despite the demanding schedule, they remained focused on their preparation for the upcoming World Championship in Fukuoka.
The timing with all those flights and different time zones not ideal and we keep on training hard. But I feel like we have enough time to adapt after the World Cup to be ready for the World Championships again. Also, we are going to Bangkok for some days to prepare before Fukuoka.
For the Dutch star, those events might be exhausting, but they serve as the pinnacle of their summer endeavours.
These events and tournaments are the most exciting things to do after a full summer of training and we’re all looking forward to these big games. In the end, these are the games we’re training for all season long.
Brigitte vividly recounts the Netherlands’ national team as they clinched a bronze medal at the World Championship held in Budapest last year. She reflects upon the challenges they encountered and the remarkable path they embarked upon to achieve this significant milestone.
This bronze medal proved that we are on a good way and I believe we can do even better. There were some changes within the team and staff after Tokyo 2021. Of course, it was not a ‘start-over’ but it kinda felt like that because we’re trying to change some things, training and mentality-wise. It seems like it’s working.
Sleeking talks about the post-Budapest period.
A lot I think. In Budapest, we might even haven’t played our best games. I feel like we’re getting stronger every game again and everyone keeps growing in the team.
Brigitte shared her insights on Spain, acknowledging them as the formidable rival within their group, and elaborated on the strategic path the team undertake to victory.
For us it’s important to have a good start and to just play our own game. Spain is always a great opponent and they have had a lot of success in the past years. For sure it will be a nice first game for both of us and after that, there are many more games to reach our goal.
Our interlocutor passionately discusses the reasons behind her exceptional performance while representing the Netherlands.
We have a really strong team and a good connection. Everyone feels more confident in the team and about our plan. Our team has a lot of qualities and respect for each other. We are training hard but besides that we also have fun. And all of this makes us a great team and you can see that in the way we are playing.
This summer, Brigitte Sleeking makes a significant move to Vouliagmeni, Greece, and she shares her perspective on her transfer to this new team. She provides insights into the reasons behind her decision and her expectations for the exciting chapter ahead.
I’ve had a good feeling about Vouliagmeni and the coach (Kiki Liosi) from the beginning when we started talking. It’s a club with a good, clear vision and a stable team for years now. We would like to join the top of Europe and I believe we have a good team to get there.
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