Another three gymnasts have opened a booklet about the much discussed methods of national coach Vincent Wevers from Oldenzaal. According to the trio, which wants to remain anonymous, Wevers’ approach went far beyond the limit of the allowable.
“There was no room for feeling and emotion. It was only about performing. You didn’t get the chance to be a child,” the NOS says from the mouth of the three. The story of Joy Goedkoop from Raalte seems familiar to them.
‘Atmosphere turned around’
One of the three started working for the Wevers group in the late eighties at the age of seven and stopped at the age of thirteen. She wants to share her experiences, but anonymously. “Otherwise, it’s like losing weight. Even after thirty years, I still feel it.”
Another, about ten years ago under the care of Wevers, also speaks out. “I was afraid of him. The atmosphere in the room changed when he was there,” it sounds shocking. “With my own trainer there was room for fun, but when he was in the room you had the feeling that you had to walk on tiptoe.”
“I was always jealous of the group of older gymnasts, those girls had a longer run up before the jump and were therefore allowed to start from the dressing room. Then you were out of sight, you were safe there. We even had a code word just in case he came up, “alarm, alarm.”
Two out of three say they were not physically addressed by Wevers, one gymnast was. “But those few spades are not the most memorable. The feeling that we were worth nothing has much more impact.”
“You were constantly manipulated and played. Actually you were just broken down. I have been in therapy for a long time and have had to struggle very much to appreciate myself and my body again. It took fifteen years before I could say: I have my live back. “
The leadership of gymnastics union KNGU reacts on Wednesday afternoon to the recent stories about abuse and humiliation in gymnastics. At the Papendal sports center, chairman Monique Kempff, director Marieke van der Plas and technical director Mark Meijer will give text and explanations from 3.30 pm.