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: sailor Annette Duetz.
Annette Duetz: “It felt like being in the lap of luxury as the sailing conditions were perfect” (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 5: sailor Annette Duetz.

Lees in het Nederlands 

  • Who: Annette Duetz, 29 June 1993 (27 years old)
  • Study: Applied Physics, from 2014
  • Sport: Sailing
  • Club: TeamNL
  • Team: 49erFX class, with Annemiek Bekkering
  • Status: Qualified for Tokyo

You qualified in May 2019. How are things going with you?
“Very well. We are looking forward to it now that it’s finally happening. This will be a wonderful time.”

What are your lives like in these corona times?
“We are just back from a training camp and a competition in Portugal, and will now train in the Netherlands. We wanted to limit our travel because of corona, so we spent almost all winter in Lanzarote. It felt like being in the lap of luxury as the sailing conditions were perfect there. At the end of March we entered the first real competition in ages and sailed against all our competitors.”

Did it go well?
“It was fun to do, but we also needed to know where we stand. We came second. What was more important was that we came across some things which we realised that we have to work on in the next few months. These were strategic decisions that you need to take in certain race situations.”

‘We are aiming for gold’

You qualified really early. Did you have the time to get to know the competition waters?
“We spent a long time in Japan in the summer of 2019 to familiarise ourselves with the competition waters and conditions such as current and wind. Looking back, it was good that we were able to spend so much time there. We could not have done it in 2020 as you could not enter Japan.”

How is it going with your studies?
“I’ve hardly had the chance to study. I was intending to start on my last year of my master’s in September 2020, after the Games. But I have had to push this back to this September. I’m looking forward to that too.”

Did the postponement of the Games and the uncertainty of whether they would go ahead this year take a toll on your motivation?
“The NOC*NSF (the Netherlands Olympic Committee*Netherlands Sports Federation) always said that Tokyo will go ahead so that gave us confidence.  I believe it will go ahead too, even without international spectators. For us, the most important thing is that the competition goes ahead.”

You have been world champions twice and are now top of the world ranking. You probably won’t be satisfied with ‘just’ silver or bronze.
“We are going into the Games with the mindset that we want to be at the top. We are aiming for gold, but there is a lot of stiff competition. We will just do our very best.”

Also read part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series: