Ad Roskam enjoys historic evening in Rome: ‘We are on the right line’

Three Dutch victories in one evening in the Diamond League, which Ad Roskam had never experienced before. The technical director of the Athletics Union saw how Lieke Klaver (400 metres), Nadine Visser (100 metres hurdles) and Femke Bol (400 metres hurdles) were the first to cross the finish line on Thursday in the otherwise empty Stadio Olimpico.

“Of course some top riders were missing. But if you win three parts in such a selective programme, it means that you got through the corona period very well and that we are on the right line”, says Roskam.

The Athletics Union also had to close all training facilities in March when the coronavirus started to spread in the Netherlands. “But we are good at improvisation and tight organisation,” says Roskam. “We organised training moments and competitions again at an early stage, which has allowed us to run a very decent season with a good build-up”

It resulted in a summer with great performances. For example, Sifan Hassan improved the world endurance record in Brussels, Visser achieved a series of international victories on the 100-metre hurdles and there was the breakthrough of the only 20-year-old Bol. Visser and Bol lead this years world ranking on the 100 and 400 metre hurdles respectively.

“You have to make a note of that, because not the whole world flies off the track. But given the level of performance we have every reason to be very happy and satisfied”, said Roskam. “Weve been seeing talent in the pipeline for a couple of years, as we call it. One athlete needs a little longer than another to develop. Femkes development is very special. Someone who is at such a young age and reaches this level, that is rare. What is good comes quickly. And that certainly applies to her

Growth in width

Roskam also sees the Dutch athletics team grow in width. “If one athlete has less than a year, the other will step forward. That means that we are becoming stronger across the board. Thats what you strive for as a league. We want to perform better across the board and be less dependent on one or two top athletes. There is a lot of potential in this group, across all generations. From an old lady like Churandy Martina, who still has an important role, to the juniors

A number of Dutch athletes will compete in the last Diamond League in Doha next week, for most of them the season is over. “We will then go three weeks flat and then the Olympic season 2.0 will start,” said Roskam, referring to the postponed Tokyo Games. “Yes, Im very much looking forward to that. Im not going to make any predictions for the Olympics. The focus is on staying whole and making progress. We cant control what other countries and other athletes are doing. Comparing is so difficult now. But developments are good for us