Hockeyer Justen Blok
Justen Blok: “It would be interesting to meet other athletes at the Olympic Games.” (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

Several TU Delft top athletes have a chance to compete in the Olympic Games. What are their lives like and where do they stand? Part 4: hockey player Justen Blok.

Lees in het Nederlands 

  • Who: Justen Blok 27/9/2000 (20 years old)
  • Study: Civil Engineering
  • Sport: Hockey, defence
  • Club: HC Rotterdam
  • Team: Oranje men’s selection
  • Status: Qualified for Tokyo
  • The media:, praises his ‘velvety handling of the ball, appropriate technique and perfect positioning’.

What is your life like at present?
“I have put my study on hold for six months. At the moment all I am doing is practising with a view to the Olympic Games. Normally I am at the club every Monday and Tuesday, from 08:00 to 18:00. Wednesday it’s half a day, Thursday it’s two parts of the day, Friday only the evening and Sunday a match. I’m only free on Friday during the day and Saturday.

Is anything different because of corona?
“On the field, not much, but outside of that a lot. We cannot socialise. We cannot eat together after training and the team discussions are shorter as we may not sit together for long.”

What is your status at Oranje?
“We now have a group of 21 preparing for the European Championships in June and then the Games. Three of us will not be included in the Olympic Games team. I don’t know when the decision will be taken. Nothing is certain at this point.”

You have been with the group as an up and coming talent for two years. What is the chance that you will be in the Olympics selection?
“I have no idea. We first have to compete in Pro League matches and the European Championships in June. I hope to stay in the team for as long as possible.”

‘I know that I am getting a lot out of the choices I have made’

Given all the uncertainties, what is your motivation to prioritise your sport like this?
“The Olympic Games are the highest level competition in hockey, so it’s not hard to be motivated.”

You started at TU Delft in 2018. Is your study going well?
“No, not really. I only got 55 credits in three years so it’s not going fast. I needed just five credits to finish my first year. Sports is clearly my number one priority, though my study is important too. I will get that diploma in the end, even if it takes me a long time. I never have to push myself to study.”

What do you expect from the Olympic Games should you be selected?
“I don’t really know what it will be like. There will be no public, at least none of our own supporters. I have no idea if we will all be in one big bubble, or if we will be in several bubbles. It would be interesting to meet other athletes.”

Do you miss the student life?
“Of course it’s a shame that I am not really experiencing ‘real student life’. But I also know that I am getting a lot out of the choices I have made. And I find that a lot better.”

Also read part 1,2 and 3 of this series: