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Sloetjes rises above disappointment, looks ahead to Tokyo 2020

 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 20, 2016 – The Netherlands’ Lonneke Sloetjes had an excellent scoring performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as she led her team to reach its first-ever top four finish in their volleyball history.

The Netherlands played a total of eight matches, as they have reached the bronze medal match. Sloetjes topped the team’s scoring charts on six occasions, then came in second in scoring in their two other matches, making her one of the most consistent players in the competition.

Rio 2016

Sloetjes had a total of 157 points, including 138 spikes, 10 blocks and nine aces. Sloetjes’ performance in the tournament did not seem like she is an Olympic newcomer, as she scored on demand, and found the right angles to beat her opponents’ tough blocks.

“I think this is not even my best tournament,” Sloetjes said. “I could not find to score the way I normally do. I just want to win the match. I always go forward in every swing I do and in every attack I do. I just go full and I think that is my strength.”

Rio 2016

The native of Varsseveld have earned many accolades in recent competitions. She was named to the Dream Team as Best Opposite, when she led the Netherlands to silver at the 2015 European Championship. She was also named Best Opposite in both the European qualifiers n January 2016 in Ankara and the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May 2016 in Tokyo, from which the Netherlands qualified for Rio 2016. 

Netherlands coach Giovanni Guidetti praised Sloetjes for her eagerness to be a better player.

“She’s an incredible person,” Guidetti said. “She is a role model for the team because she is never afraid to learn. That’s what makes her one of the best players in the world.”

Rio 2016

Sloetjes felt like the loss to the United States in the bronze medal match is quite difficult to absorb at the moment, but she’s quite optimistic that the team will realise that they played their absolute best in the tournament.

“I am quite upset because we were not able to get the win,” Sloetjes said. “On the other hand, I am very proud of this team. We’ve reached the top four and we showed everybody that we are not leaving any time soon.”

Rio 2016

The Dutch opposite shared her best moments on and off the court in Rio 2016.

“Every match for me was a high because we fought so hard in every match,” Sloetjes said. “It was not one match that decided the tournament. In the group stage, we had a lot of good matches and I am very happy with our performance.”

Rio 2016

“Off the court, I am very happy that I could share this experience with my parents. They are here and although it was not easy for my mom to come because she is in a wheelchair, I am so happy that I can share this moment with her.”

Quick links - Volleyball:
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball Results/Schedule
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Men
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Teams - Women
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball - Media Guide
Rio 2016 Olympic Games - Volleyball History

Sloetjes was the last player to come out of the court, as she went straight to her mother to cherish that emotional Rio 2016 moment. It was a moving moment for the Dutch opposite and her mother’s message was all she needed to comfort her.

“She told me that she is very proud of what we have reached in this tournament,” Sloetjes said. “She was very happy to see me play and it was really nice and emotional.”

Sloetjes is already looking ahead to the next Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“I expect that we will fight and come back in four years for Tokyo 2020,” Sloetjes said. “It’s not that far and we have to keep fighting until we get there.”

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