SPECIAL GUEST & CO-HOST MARCEL BALKESTEIN
My name is Marcel Balkestein. I started to play hockey at hockey club Heeze. Despite of the fact that I was asked several times by the far more well-known club Oranje-Zwart from Eindhoven to play there, I stayed at HC Heeze until I was 20 years’ old. Very consciously I chose for my friends and for the responsibility that I had to take on trainings and matches.
After missing out on the championship with Heeze in 2001, however, it was time to finally make the switch to Oranje-Zwart. While I started playing there as an attacker, I felt I wouldn’t be good enough to play in the starting lineup of the team. Therefore, the only possibility of playing time was to focus on a spot in the defense.
My goal changed from ‘scoring as many goals as possible’ to 'becoming the best defender in the Netherlands'. Having had to realize this turned out to be 'easier said than done’ I did make my debut for the Dutch national team four years later.
This was shortly after I became Champion of the Netherlands with Oranje-Zwart’s first team in 2005. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 we became Champions again and in 2015 we won the Euro Hockey League as well, Europe’s Champions League in hockey.
After the World Cup of 2014 I retired from the national team. With pride I look back on the 108 international games that I have been able to play. Beside the European Championships and the World cups, the Olympics Games in London were the highlight of my career. From all possible perspectives, and not only because of the Silver Medal we won there.....
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