Avocations: Wessel Keemink

Wessel Keemink has Olympic sized dreams. The 22-year-old volleyball player hopes to be part of the Dutch national team for Tokyo in 2020. Now standing at 1.9

7 metres tall, he started playing the sport when he was just 11. “My parents always told me I had to do something like a sport or an instrument to help with social skills,” said Keemink. After trying swimming and judo, he eventually developed a love for volleyball.

Keemink has always tried to balance his studies with the sport. Now in his final year of a master’s in systems engineering and policy management, he also plays both beach and indoor volleyball at a competitive level. “If you see what we get paid we would probably be considered amateurs, but if you look at our training hours we are definitely like professionals,” said Keemink.

His average week involves about 18 hours of training and regular matches. Together with his beach partner Sven Vismans, they qualified for the World Championships last year in Amsterdam. “We have played in venues all over the world, but playing in our home country with 3,000 people cheering for us was amazing,” said Keemink.

It’s the difficulty of the sport that Keemink loves. “It requires athleticism, technical skills and so many variables that are important,” he said. In a perfect world, he would like to play professionally as long as he enjoys it and can make a living from the sport. “I don’t think I will ever not like it.”

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