The 55-year-old Patricia Libregts finished fourth in Sydney in Olympic 2000 with the Dutch water polo team. “If I don’t surpass her, I really don’t have to come home,” Megens says with a wink.
The Rotterdam native has just arrived in the Olympic village, and it is already a party in her apartment. “Our goalkeeper Debby Willemsz is my roommate and we like to make it a kind of living room,” says Megens. “There are already some decorations and we printed photos at HEMA to stick on the wall. Furthermore, the water polo men were kind enough to give us a disposable camera. All the pictures we take with that now, we will develop after Tokyo and then we will review them with the whole team.”
Megens and her teammates are preparing for their first Summer Games. For the last time that the Dutch water polo team was active on the Olympic scene, we have to go back to Beijing 2008. There they also won a gold medal, but after that they failed to qualify for two Games in a row. There is another strong team in Tokyo, with Megens as one of the trendsetters.
Much is expected of Maud Megens in Tokyo.
The leading player comes from a real top sport family. Her grandfather is former football coach Thijs Libregts (80), who held sway at, among others, Feyenoord and the Dutch national team. Her mother Patricia was successful as a water polo player for many years and won, among other things, the world title in 1991. “Her experience is helping me tremendously now,” Megens assures. “I just had her on the phone. Then I tell a story and it’s just really nice that my mother understands what I’m talking about. She does not immediately give her opinion or advice, but just that recognition feels very nice.”
Her grandfather Thijs, on the other hand, very rarely hides his opinion. “He still knows very well how to get the best out of a team, but sometimes he is also a bit stubborn,” says Megens with a laugh. “Grandpa knows a lot about football, of course, but he also projects that onto my sport. Then he gives all kinds of technical tips and I think: yes, sure, Grandpa. haha.”
“Our slogan in LA is fight on. When I meet a fellow student in Tokyo, we shout it to each other. It feels like one big family.”
The water polo women open their adventure in Tokyo on Monday with a group match against Australia. The key question in the Megens and Libregts household is: can Maud surpass her mother’s Olympic performance? “The whole family hopes so, of course. As players we also know that getting a medal is a realistic goal, but the competition is huge. One thing is certain: finishing fourth and falling just off the podium seems to me the worst thing there is. My mother wouldn’t wish that on me either. She also firmly believes in a medal.”
According to Maud Megens, a medal for the Dutch water polo women is a realistic goal.
Megens and associates will stay in Japan for almost three weeks. Then she travels back to her second home: Los Angeles. There she wants to complete her sociology studies at the well-known University of Southern California within six months. All in all, she lived in the United States for more than four years. She combines her studies with a starring role on the top water polo university team in the country. “In mid-2016 I was suddenly called by the American head coach, who saw an important role for me in the team. He told me such a beautiful story that I moved to America a month later. I have not regretted that for a second. School sports are so big there and everything is organized so professionally.”
‘A big family’
The Americans, for their part, have not regretted for a second that they brought Megens on board. Last May she proved her worth again by scoring six times in the final for the national championship. What followed was a big party in downtown LA with her teammates and the coaching staff. Afterwards, she joined the national water polo team, which means she is now in Tokyo. “More than sixty(!) ex-students are taking part in the Games who come from the university where I study. Our slogan in LA is fight on. When I run into a fellow student in Tokyo, we call that out to each other. It feels like one big family.”
fight on. It could also be a great slogan for ambitious Dutch water polo women during the Summer Games.
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Star player Maud Megens wants to surpass mother in Tokyo: ‘Otherwise I really don’t have to come home’ Sport
Source link Star player Maud Megens wants to surpass mother in Tokyo: ‘Otherwise I really don’t have to come home’ Sport