Last year was strange in the extreme, and for athletes, too, it was a bizarre time. So to now choose athletes and a sports association of the year, as is customary, seemed to the Eindhoven Student Sports Federation to be inappropriate. ESSF president Eleonoor Jordans explains: “Some people haven't been able to show what they are capable of. For one association the sporting season ended earlier than for another, because, for example, there was more scope for individual sports than for team sports. And competitions and tournaments were cancelled. In short, it is not a year to be declaring the sportsman and sportswoman of the year, that would be unfair.”
But ESSF does not want 2020 to slip by unnoticed. “So we asked the associations who they would want to put forward, and this produced twenty nominations. In consultation with the last board and with the Student Sports Centre we have chosen three top athletes instead of the sportswoman and the sportsman. These are ice hockey player Bart van Dijk (Icehawks), cyclist Mathijs Loman (Squadra Veloce) and climber Jacco Pereboom (ESAC).
As an alternative to an announcement made during a gala, the Instaccount presented itself, which Jordans would like to see have more followers than the present 386. On Insta, ESSF has reported a few of the many performances achieved by its chosen 'toppers' . Loman carried on cycling and with sports activity tracker Strava, he proved, among other things, that he was faster than pro cyclist Philippe Gilbert. Van Dijk was praised for his scoring skills and his constructive criticism of his Icehawks teammates. Pereboom was among the ten best participants in the 72-hour European Adventure Race in Czechia, during which, when not climbing, he demonstrated his knack for speed when cycling, running and kayaking.
Choosing an association of the year was similarly too difficult for ESSF. “It would have meant looking at who had managed to best deal with the corona measures. Just nuts. So, again in consultation with the Student Sports Centre, we decided to have the honor go to the last ESSF board. They are the people who had to deal with the impact of corona. Their contribution to the sports associations has been immense and they worked tirelessly to find solutions. It is thanks to them that, in spite of everything, sports card holders were able to play sport.”
What we also must not forget, says Jordans, is that the 57th board followed on the heels of an emergency board and managed, with great effort, to breathe new life into the umbrella organization for student sports associations.
Award ceremony at 1m50
So, this year, there will be no gala and no one will make that red carpet walk up to the spotlights, but instead one member of the ESSF board, accompanied at a distance by a photographer, will deliver an award to each chosen winner. “We are going to celebrate them outside their own front doors and deliver a small gift in recognition of their achievement,” says Jordans. What that award may be remains, for the time being, a secret. You can find out soon at Insta, @de_essf.