Roos Deurloo: ‘You simply live for it!’
Roos Deurloo, 18 years old, is a Dutch judoka. She is part of the national talent team and trains about nine to ten times per week. She usually trains in her city of residence, Heerenveen (province of Friesland), a city of sports that offers great facilities for athletes like Roos. Furthermore, she regularly visits the national top sports center of Papendal (when she is not travelling for competitions or trainings of course).
Roos’ judo career started about six years ago, when she was one of the national top athletes within Acrobatic Gymnastics. When her parents decided to put their house for sale, they wanted to move to the center of the country, Roos was no longer able to keep up with her schedule for the “acro team”, thus she was forced to try out a different sport. Her little brothers practiced judo and since this is an individual sport, she decided to give it a shot. Ironically, even though the relocation didn’t take place, Roos hasn’t taken her judo kimono off ever since.
Roos: ‘I enjoyed judo so much, that I never went back to acro training again. I trained very hard –as I had been taught in the gym- and it turned out I had talent. Within a few weeks I was already able to overpower my class mates and the trainers loved it. However, the higher you get, the more serious it becomes of course. I started at age eleven and that is late in comparison to other judokas I know. I actually missed out on the “playing phase” and that is when a child starts developing the natural feeling for it. A six-year-old doesn’t think and essentially acts on instinct and this is what we have tried to develop in retrospect. When you turn twelve, you start paying attention and you start to train really hard. This is an aspect I had already developed thanks to my background in Acro and it helped me to stand out among the other girls.’
Currently, Roos has a so called “IT-status”, which stands for international talent. What is the key to success? According to her it’s all about being happy and about joking around sometimes: ‘I need a trainer with whom I can laugh with. I tend to close myself up in a bubble and to be very focused on the sport and the desired result. At this point I know that I’m better off when I look for some distraction before a match. It helps me to take the fear of disappointment away, to think less and to act more on instinct. For this reason, I need a trainer that makes jokes and talks about silly things with me before I perform. It really helps me to feel relaxed when entering the mattress and that’s when I achieve the best results.’
Because of her tight training program and study schedule, it isn’t easy for Roos to find time to have fun. Especially because she is a rookie this year in the category -21. ‘To perform is a big thing in my life, says Roos, and every athlete knows that you have to start from zero again when you move up to a new category. Of course there are moments when you ask yourself why you are putting yourself in this situation, but that’s normal and it makes it –strangely as it sounds- more exciting. This is because, when you experience the feeling of winning again, you are sure that your sport is the best thing in the world and you are proud of yourself for achieving such a result in spite of all the hardship. There is nothing that can make you as sad and as hurt as a sport, but at the same time there is nothing that can make you happier. You simply live for it.’