Van Rhijn relishing London return

The Dutch blade runner’s final 100m race before Rio 2016 will be at Saturday’s Müller Anniversary Games. 20 Jul 2016
A picture of a woman on the running track celebrating with her hands spread

Marlou Van Rhijn of Netherlands crosses the line to win gold in the Women's 200m - T44 Final at the Paralympic Games in London

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“It’s my last 100m before Rio so it needs to be good. I am really using it for practise to see what I have to do better and what I am doing well already. It’s so cool to go in to the old Olympic stadium just before you go in to the next one.”

Competition counts for Dutch sprinter Marlou van Rhijn who heads to London, Great Britain, this Saturday (23 July) for a vital last race before September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The double world champion takes on the 100m T44 at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final – part of the Müller Anniversary Games - and it is an opportunity the 24-year-old is relishing – not least because she has the chance to return to the scene of her Paralympic success four years ago.

“What’s cool about it is that my last competition before Rio is actually in the stadium where I won my gold medal, so I’m going to really have fun in that moment and I’m really hoping for a good race,” said van Rhijn, who won 200m T44 gold in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at London 2012.

“It’s my last 100m before Rio so it needs to be good. I am really using it for practise to see what I have to do better and what I am doing well already. It’s so cool to go in to the old Olympic stadium just before you go in to the next one.”

Four years ago van Rhijn was a relative unknown in Para athletics – she made her senior international debut just a few weeks before the 2012 Games, winning double sprint gold at the IPC Athletics European Championships in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands.

A lot has happened since then – Paralympic gold, four world titles, two more European golds. Not to mention countless world records.

“It’s a bit strange because you are going to Rio completely differently – in London I was unknown and a bit of an underdog, I had run some fast times but it was my first Games and everyone knows at the Games there are different rules.

“Now I know what the Games are and how it goes. I won a title in London, so I want to do that again [in Rio]. It’s really different but it’s also fun because now I know better what I am capable of, so now I want to show it on the bigger stage.”

The Dutch star, nicknamed ‘Blade Babe’, has already lowered her own 100m T43 world record mark this year, clocking 12.79 seconds at the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland in May – knocking 0.01 seconds off the time she set to win world gold last October in Doha, Qatar.

Winning and world records may look like they come easily – but right now van Rhijn is careful not to set her own expectations too high. At this point in the season, technique is everything; the times will follow.

“Lately I’m really practising all the technical stuff so I know if my technique is good then I might miss a little aggression or pressure even, so the time may not be as fast,” admitted van Rhijn.

“But for me it is really important that the race is exactly how I want it to go from start, to acceleration, to finish. If I know that that’s good, then I know with all the pressure from Rio and the stadium I will get faster.”

As for going faster in London, van Rhijn believes the iconic venue and the memories it holds could well help inspire her to continue re-writing the history books.

“I hope so,” said van Rhijn. “Last time I was there it was also amazing, it’s still the Olympic stadium and it’s still where I had my best moment in my career. So it does bring that little extra with it.

“But [Rio 2016] also still feels a bit far away – I still have two months but I am really building up towards that moment. So London is a very nice competition to still have before then - I know that it’s my last competition before Rio so for me that’s like a big moment.

“It’s strange because it feels quite far away still because it’s two months, but then if someone says it in days then all of a sudden I think ‘Oh! That’s close!’” she laughed.


Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.

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