Mink Puig on the games: ‘Better than football players’

Zilver voor Oranje na de Olympische finale in 2016 tussen de dames van Nederland en Groot-Brittannië (foto: ANP).

In less than a month it’s time: the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Former hockey player Minky Puig of Dean Bosch is already looking forward. Who will score high there and which athletes do you keep a close eye on?

Puig played for HC Den Bosch for years and participated in the Olympic Games three times. She knows better than anyone how exciting such a big tournament is. She and her team were only able to take the gold during her last matches.

This year also Booij expects hockey players to win prizes. “They will go further than the football men did in the European Championship,” she jokes. “The hockey women are simply the top favourites. I basically hope there will be exciting matches, which is good for the sport. But the girls will be guaranteed success and medals anyway.”

In addition to her many years of involvement in the hockey world, Puig also worked for two years as director of OranjeLeeuwinnen at KNVB. “I got to know the Lionesses very well during that time. They have done well in recent years in the European Championships and the World Cup. I have real confidence in their games.” Puig is only hoping that they will meet Team USA as late as possible in the tournament. This is the prestige discount. “They have also shown that they can beat big countries like France and England.”

Booij also believes Brabant has a secret name to back it up as a sports district. “We’ve produced the best real athletes,” she says. “Think of cyclist Marian Voss, fencer Bas Verowenen, Orange Liones Daniel van de Donk and many more hockey players. But also at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 there were ten Brabant people with a medal.” Then it came to big names like dressage racer Anky van Grunsven of Erp and cyclist Leontien van Moorsel of Boekel.

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When asked if Puig would be keeping an eye on the athletes in particular at this tournament, she immediately answered: Archer Sjev van den Berg of Heeswijk-Dinther. “This will be his last match. He suffers from a lot of hustle and bustle of sports life. Sejf is not allowed to take some medications because of his sports career while he suffers from migraines.”

Van den Berg is only 26 years old and lives in Saint Anthony. He came fourth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I also decided that the 2008 Beijing Olympics would be my last,” Puig says. “Major sports life is tough, and mentally too. You’re in a lot of tension. I can really enjoy and relax in those last games. I knew: I’d give it extra time. I hope Van den Berg does that too. .You can experience it that way.”

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