Marathon runner Ninky Brinkmann crosses the finish line cheering at the Zermatt Marathon on July 3, 2021 (Photo: Lars Gebrad).
Hockey has been the sport of Ninky Brinkman for many years. Moving to Switzerland forced her to look for an alternative. That turned into marathons and things went really fast right away. She missed ‘Tokyo’ with an injury to her foot, but Brinkman is now walking with gas on him again. The result: qualification for both the European Championship and the World Cup.
Born in Leiderdorp, Brinkmann played hockey first for Alecto and later with HBS in Bloemendaal. Not the absolute top, but a fairly high standard. When she left for Switzerland for her studies, it turned out that no club made her. “Field hockey is not a popular sport in Switzerland,” Brinkmann says on the Sport071 broadcast. She chose to run and the rest is history.
Sport071 presenter Jerry van Buckel chats via video call with Ninky Brinkmann who lives and trains in Switzerland.
In his new hometown, Brinkman began cycling and running, and soon Brinkman preferred. “I have noticed that things are going well and I am very fanatical when it comes to sports, so I started setting more and more goals and scoring in competitions. I try to get as much as I can from it.”
It all started with a running group at the university where Brinkman works and studies. But at one time she wanted to seriously participate in competitions and after that you have to be a member of an athletics club. “To qualify for a European Championship, for example, you have to be a member of a Dutch club. Otherwise, you will not get a license.”
Brinkmann wrote to a few different federations and running clubs in the area and was immediately welcomed into Voorschoten ’97. She was in a hurry and said she was a little nervous, because Brinkman was eager to try to push the limit at the Olympics in Tokyo. “This race was really close and I still had to arrange a licence and didn’t want to pass it.”
Tokyo didn’t pass in the end due to Brinkmann’s injury. But the passion for running was not affected. And at the beginning of December, Brinkmann ran the maximum for next year’s European Championship and World Cup. That was a nice surprise. “I can’t walk both, because there is so little time in between, I must go and see what I choose.”
Switching to track athletics probably isn’t an option, Brinkman says. “I’ve never walked on spikes. Maybe I could try 10km on the road or a half marathon.” Brinkman does not regret the late selection of athletics. “It never occurred to me to get into athletics. I dream about the Olympics in Paris. It will take some time, so I will have time for that. My running style is not optimal yet and I can still improve myself when it comes to things like nutrition and recovery.”
What’s so great about running a marathon, Brinkman still finds a difficult question to answer. “It gives a boost. And for me, those 42 kilometers fly by. It’s tough, but I enjoy every moment.” Brinkman is not yet ready to say whether she will run the Leiden Marathon. It depends on her readiness for international competitions. “But I think it would be fun to do it all at once.”
Leiderdorp Sport Voorschoten
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