Who: Jan Driessen, 4 December 1996 (24 years)
Study: Clinical Technology (fourth year)
Sport: 3x3 basketball
Team: 3x3 Orange Lions
Status: NL not yet qualified for Tokyo
Experience: Played for ZZ Leiden (5x5 basketball) in the premiership
What is your life like as both a student and a top athlete?
“I am in the 3x3 basketball programme which is a group of eight to ten players. I travel to Amsterdam three or four times a week for training. Next to basketball, the most important thing to me is my study. After I got my VWO (pre-university education) and played for ZZ Leiden, there was no time for further studies. I am now doing Clinical Technology and am in the fourth year. I hope to earn my bachelor’s in July.”
What is the difference between 3x3 and regular basketball?
“It is a different kind of sport. The basic things, like shooting and passing, are the same but the rules are different. You play on a half field with one basket instead of two. One team attacks, the other defends. You don’t have a fixed position in the field.”
What makes this version so irresistible?
“It is heavier. The actual play time is only 10 minutes, but you’re completely drained afterwards. You have the ball more often and you can’t hide; you are working all the time. It’s that intenseness that I really like. It will be part of the Olympic Games for the first time. I can’t wait to see how it will go in Tokyo. I think that the sport will be an enormous surprise to most people and that it will become really popular.”
Is anything different because of corona?
“We can train pretty much as normal. During the first wave last year this was not the case. You can’t train at one-and-a-half metres. The matches abroad are going well too. We regularly do quick tests.”
The Games were postponed by a year and we still have to wait and see if they will go ahead. Does this affect your motivation?
“Definitely not. Nobody in our team spends all their time worrying about it. We can’t allow ourselves to do so.”
Does the Netherlands stand a good chance of qualifying?
“The Netherlands has qualified for two Olympic qualification tournaments. The first is in Graz at the end of May, and the second one week later in Debrecen. I believe the Netherlands has a real chance.”
Will you be part of these matches?
“If everyone remains fit, I don’t think that I’ll be playing in one of these tournaments. The top four will be selected for the Olympic team and the others will have a place in the selection. They need us to train with as the group would otherwise be too small.”
Does the Netherlands have a chance at winning any medals?
“Eight teams will compete in Tokyo. The Netherlands definitely has a chance if it qualifies. We recently won a highly regarded international tournament, 3x3 basketball is unpredictable.”