Voetballer en student wiskunde Victoria Pelova.
(Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

TU Delft top athletes may have the chance to compete in the Olympic Games in Japan. What are their lives like and where do they stand? Part 1: footballer Victoria Pelova.

Lees in het Nederlands

  • Who: Victoria Pelova, 3 June 1999 (21 years)
  • Study: Applied Mathematics
  • Sport: Football, midfielder
  • Club: Ajax (since 2019)
  • Team: Oranje Leeuwinnen (qualified for Tokyo)
  • Debut as international: 20 January 2018, Spain-Netherlands
  • Previously: Played in the junior team at DSV Concordia in Delft

What is your life like at present?
“The usual. Football and studying. It is not that much different in these corona times. I now live in Amsterdam and I was already doing a lot of distance learning. It is still just as heavy.”

How far are you in your study? Can you manage to combine it with your professional sports career?
“I started in 2017 and am now in my third year. At Ajax, we sometimes train two or three times a day. Then you are at the club from 09:00 to 17:00. When I get home in the evening, I really don’t feel like studying anymore. I try to catch up later. I don’t have time for the things I find interesting and which I’d like to go into more deeply.”

Is football more important for you at the moment?
“For me, football is number one. However, my studies are important too. I am definitely intending to complete them. It’s always good to do something outside of sports. I really appreciated it when I was injured.”

Is anything different because of corona?
“You are tested once or twice a week, and two days before every match. We do not live in a bubble at Ajax. After a game or training, everyone goes home as usual. At Oranje, we do stay in a bubble. You spend more time together in training camps, unfortunately without a roommate.”

You do not have a guaranteed position in Oranje at the moment and there is a lot of competition. How do you stay motivated? Especially with the uncertainty about the Olympic Games going ahead?
“I want to be a champion with Ajax, and that’s motivation enough. And in regard to Oranje, I simply have to do my best. That’s the only option, right? I believe that the Games will go ahead. My goal is to be selected for the Olympic team and play in the team in Japan. I want to mean something for the team.”

When will you know that you will be in the Olympic team?
“The selection, a group of 18 players, will be announced in June. I want to be among them.”

What do you expect from the Games?
“There will probably be no public. That’s a shame, but no one can fly into Japan. There will be no Olympic Village and no Holland House. We really will have to live in a bubble there. No idea what that will be like.”