Hello Fit Girls, my name is Bianca Baak and I am an 400m hurdles athlete. I started doing athletics when I was twelve years old. My gym teacher told me to go to the athletics club nearby as a homework assignment. She was a tough and strict lady so I ran home and told my parents I needed to go. My parents took me to the track for my first try-out practice and I never left, figuratively speaking that is. 😉
I loved running since forever and was always racing the boys, so naturally I started at the sprint training. After a few months I joined a friend to do a hurdles practice and I really loved this event. Despite of my terrible technique I ran my first 60m hurdles race faster than the best girl of our club and my love for hurdles and winning was born.
A few years later I decided to specialize in hurdles only. Until then still did a lot of events, but after winning gold for the first time in the 300m hurdles event at the National Championships in 2007 it was clear this was the way to go. Since then I won a lot of National titles at the Youth and also at the Seniors. Currently i am Dutch champion 400m hurdles at the seniors for three years in a row now. So it has been a pretty good choice don’t you think?
It gets even better. Not only was I a good enough for the medals at the national championships, I could also participate in a lot of international and European youth championships. At my first European championship for youths in 2009 I even won a bronze medal and I did not even know about the existence of European championships for that long. It was a new world enfolding in front of my eyes, with a lot of new goals to reach.
My best performance ever was in 2013 when participated at the European Championships under 23 years old. It was a year full of struggles and little injuries and because of this a year full of training all by myself. But with every stupid recovery exercise my determination to do good grew bigger and bigger. In the Netherlands you have to run a certain time before you can be chosen to participate at European and World championships.
I was certain it would be a piece of cake to run the entry standard, so I felt no pressure. But I didn’t make it, on a (few) hundreds of seconds. Not once, not twice, but five times! Thank god for my coach, she convinced them to let me go as a doubtful case. I felt so good, I knew I was in shape and that I could run so much faster in the competition. I had semi-finals and finals in the competition so I needed to run one excellent and one perfect race. In the semi-finales I managed to run one sec of my Personal Best, which was also one sec under the entry standard I didn’t got. Pretty excellent! Oh the satisfaction and the thankfulness that they had let me compete. After the semi-final I was full of confidence, because I knew this race had not been top of my game. The date of the finals arrived and I was ready. Sitting in the starting blocks, hearing the sound of the gunshot, I flew over the track to the finish line and to my silver medal! Not only a silver medal, but again one sec of my Personal Best and the fifth best time in the Netherlands ever. No greater satisfaction possible for all that hard work.
Ofcourse every athletes has injuries in their career. Unfortunately after quite some good years I had a pretty bad injury last season and I could not race properly. But after a switch of coaches, a new training group and training environment I am back on track! And ready to take you all with me in my dream journey to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
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