Imagen
a female Para athlete celebrates with fans

Fleur Jong

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T62

Further personal information

Residence
Sloten, NED
Occupation
Athlete, Motivational Speaker
Languages
Dutch, English, German
Higher education
Communications, Science - University of Amsterdam: Netherlands

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up the sport seriously in 2015 in Arnhem, Netherlands. She started focusing on long jump in July 2019.
Why this sport?
Dutch Paralympic sprinter Marlou van Rhijn invited her to a talent day for Para athletes. "After I lost my legs I was trying to find a new sport with which I could improve my health and make the best of my new situation. Athletics provided me with lots of general skills and challenged me every day. I started falling in love with it quickly. I think it gave me a purpose. I was first trying to get back to my old life [before amputation], but I was not the old me anymore. So, I was constantly confronted with that fact. And I was not confronted with that fact anymore because I found a new sport. I found athletics."
Club / Team
AV Phanos: Amsterdam, NED
Name of coach
Guido Bonsen [personal], NED
Training Regime
She trains in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

International debut

Year
2015
Competing for
Netherlands
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Doha, QAT

General interest

Nicknames
Vjeze ["It was given to me by my teammates - he is a famous Dutch rapper and when you say the name out loud it sounds similar to my own name"]. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hobbies
Reading, solving puzzles. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Claiming bronze in the T44 200m at the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and placing fourth in the same event at the 2017 World Championships in London, England. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Coach Guido Bonsen, and prosthetist Frank Jol. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Injuries
In August 2018 she had surgery on her left leg and was unable to compete for a year. She returned to action at the 2019 Grand Prix in Paris, France. (paralympic.org, 31 Aug 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If everything is under control, you're not going fast enough." [Mario Andretti] (Facebook page, 27 Feb 2020)
Other sports
Prior to her impairment she competed in dancing at World Cup events. (ondertussen.nl, 23 Oct 2015)
Ambitions
To win a medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 13 Nov 2020)
Impairment
At age 16 both of her legs were amputated below the knee due to a bacterial infection in her blood. Eight of her fingertips were also removed as a result of the illness. "In December 2012, a few days before my 17th birthday, everything changed. I went home from school with what I thought was a flu. Less than 24 hours later I was rushed to the hospital and the doctors did everything to keep me alive. I had a bacterial infection. It should be pretty harmless unless it gets into your bloodstream. That's what happened to me and it put my body into toxic shock and I became very sick. Half of eight fingers, my right foot and my left forefoot and heel had to be amputated. After all the grief, everything was about building." (fleurjong.nl, 08 Jan 2020; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; unieksporten.nl, 01 Apr 2019; vicesports.nl, 14 Jul 2017; wandelgangen.psg.nl, 21 Jan 2015)
Other information
TOKYO FOCUS
After previously competing in sprint events, she took up the long jump in 2019 and decided to focus exclusively on the event at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. "Paralympic sport has evolved immensely. You can't afford to spread your chances. You have to decide. You have to make a choice. Everyone is getting better, so you can't just bet on two horses. That's just not smart. Then you're going to end up with nothing." (tokyo2020.org, 10 Nov 2020)

LONG JUMP
She was initially afraid to try the long jump but has since come to love the discipline. "It looked so dangerous, being a double amputee, but in 2019 I finally gave it a try and I loved it. My teammates and my coach were always trying to get me to do it and when I finally did, I felt so excited. Now I love being on the runway. I feel the excitement and the danger. It is a different kind of excitement than with sprinting, which I never experienced before. Now I cannot live without long jump. Sprinting is my first love, but jumping is my newest love." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

SECOND AMPUTATION
Despite knowing both of her legs would have to be amputated, she initially underwent a single amputation to one of her legs. She was later encouraged by coach Guido Bonsen to undergo the second amputation and begin her Para athletics career. "[After the first amputation,] I wanted to pick up my life again as soon as possible. I went back to school and in October 2013 I tried all kinds of sports at the Paralympic talent day with the NOC*NSF [Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation]. I was standing there with one prosthesis, but I knew my other leg would come off as well. The athletics coach, Guido Bonsen, saw something in me. I told him my story and he said, 'Call me when your second leg is off'. A crazy one-liner, but that's how it went." (unieksporten.nl, 01 Apr 2019)

RETIREMENT THOUGHTS
She considered retiring from Para athletics during her year-long rehabilitation period after undergoing surgery on her left leg in August 2018. "I was in such bad shape after surgery, nothing would heal. At one moment we felt like it would be a miracle if I could just walk normally again. I had given up on sports. The feeling hit me in September-October [2018] and I just felt like I had to quit. I am so happy that all those hours I put in when I couldn't run have paid me back now. It's a relief, now I can finally move on. I can do this. I believe in myself again. I had to quit almost because physically my stump just wasn't recovering and we weren't sure if it would ever recover and put pressure on my legs the way I used to do with athletics." (paralympic.org, 13 Nov 2020, 31 Aug 2019)

FOUNDATION
In 2017 she set up the Para Atletiek Foundation with Dutch teammate Marlene van Gansewinkel and coach Guido Bonsen to support and motivate Para athletes. "My mission is to show that an impairment does not have to be a limitation. You can do so much more than you think. [Dutch para snowboarder] Bibian Mentel helped me a lot. I hope everyone gets that support. From 2017 on this has been a very special journey and I am so proud of the team we put together and how we also give back to society. It feels good to put in the efforts for the foundation." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; zest-magazine.nl, 31 May 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T44 Heat 2 2015-10-23 3
Women's 200 m T44 Final 1 2015-10-24 3
Women's 100 m T44 Final 1 2015-10-29 6
Women's 100 m T44 Heat 2 2015-10-29 8
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m T44 Heat 1 2016-09-14 6
Women's 100 m T44 Heat 3 2016-09-17 4
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m T44 Heat 2 2017-07-17 9
Women's 200 m T44 Heat 2 2017-07-22 3
Women's 200 m T44 Final 1 2017-07-23 4