7 December 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
The Dutch Rowing Federation’s re-structuring is forcing out successful women’s coach Josy Verdonkschot.
The Dutch rowing website nlroei reported the other day that all is not well in the Dutch Rowing Federation. Successful Josy Verdonkschot is leaving his coaching position for the Dutch women after a rift with the federation.
“I can neither personally nor substantively agree with the new course that the rowing association is taking,” 65-year-old Verdonkschot wrote in a message this past weekend to the women he had been coaching in Tokyo.
nlroei wrote that “Technical Director Hessel Evertse went on a collision course with Verdonkschot by recently promoting Eelco Meenhorst to the new head coach for men and women.”
It was in the beginning of November, Eelco Meenhorst, who coached the Dutch men’s quadruple four to a gold medal at the Tokyo Games, was appointed head coach for the Dutch national team, both men and women, which forced out Verdonkschot from coaching the women in the future.
“It is not yet clear what his position will be,” Meenhorst told Dutch media in November about Verdonkschot. “Of course, I like to keep him. So much knowledge and expertise always have a lot of value.”
But Josy Verdonkschot decided that he was not interested in playing along in the new structure and quit. In his message to the women’s team, which nlroei also received, Verdonkschot wrote: “It’s not an easy choice, I will miss you all. We have a lot of beautiful things to look back on. Have faith and trust in yourself, take good care of each other.”
The Netherlands placed third in the Medal Table at the Olympic rowing on the Sea Forest Waterway with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. During the Games, Verdonkschot tested positive for COVID-19 and went into a 10-day quarantine.
nlroei wrote that three other members of the Dutch coaching staff, Jeroen Spaans, Mark Emke and Titus Weijschedé had also recently left. On top of that, three physiotherapists and a strength trainer have departed from the Dutch rowing team.
“The exodus is not expected to be completed yet,” nlroei wrote.