The New Seniors: Netherlands

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Kirsten Polderman, Sering Perdok, and Morgan Spruijtenburg at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2015

The Netherlands has a ton of active new seniors in 2016, so we’re going with those who have been getting the most international assignments and attention within the program so you have an idea as to who to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Kirsten Polderman

As the most promising new senior this year, Kirsten Polderman was the only Dutch gymnast born in 2000 to get an international assignment this spring. The federation will send 12 gymnasts to a variety of competitions in order to test those with the most to offer the five-member Olympic team, and Polderman will travel to Montreal in March to compete at International Gymnix with former world team members Maartje Ruikes and Eythora Thorsdottir.

Turning 16 on February 16th, Polderman has a wealth of experience, including several international meets last year. She was a member of the Dutch team that competed at the Flanders International Team Challenge in May, traveled again to Belgium in November to compete at Top Gym, and was one of two Dutch juniors that competed at the prestigious European Youth Olympic Festival over the summer, where she placed 15th in an impressive field. After a disastrous beam performance and a fall on floor at nationals, she placed just fourth there, though is typically the strongest junior when she hits.

As a junior, Polderman’s biggest strength was bars, where she had about a 5.7 in start value by the end of last year. As one of the weaker events for the Dutch gymnasts, it’s likely that this is where they want her to excel, especially since the rest of her events are too low-difficulty to allow her to contend with the older girls on her team. I do think she needs quite a bit more work to become useful to the Olympic team with their current depth, but if she improves even more on her bars difficulty and consistency, she should be seriously considered for a spot there.

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Here’s Kirsten on bars in 2015. She has such a gorgeous, light swing along with beautiful lines and excellent technique. I believe she’s added some difficulty since then, including an inbar to Maloney to bail to toe shoot opening sequence, and she’s trained a Komova II to pak salto as well. A little work could make her a great addition to the team, so I’m excited to see how she continues to improve this year.

Morgan Spruijtenburg

Morgan Spruijtenburg, who turns 16 in May, was the 2015 junior national all-around champion with a score of 51.116. She went along with Polderman to the European Youth Olympic Festival in July, though when both hit, she isn’t as strong as her teammate and her all-around scores tend to hover in the 49-50 range.

I tend to enjoy her most on floor, where the tall gymnast has clean work and a good sense of performance above all else. Her tumbling is a bit easy, as is her difficulty for the most part overall, so to succeed as a senior at this level, she’ll definitely need to add some bigger skills to her repertoire.

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In addition to her 20th place all-around finish at EYOF, Morgan was 24th all-around at the Flanders International meet, and competed on bars and beam at the Sidijk Tournament at the beginning of the year, posting the top junior score on bars with a 13.2.

Sering Perdok

The third member of the Dutch EYOF team, Sering Perdok competed only on bars in Tbilisi and unfortunately smacked her feet on the low bar, leaving her unable to make the final.

However, at the Flanders International meet a couple of months earlier, Perdok defeated both Polderman and Sprujtenburg in the all-around, finishing 21st with a 50.15. She also won the silver medal in the junior national all-around competition with a 51.033, and earlier in the year she won the junior title at the Sidijk Tournament with a 51.167, a big improvement from her junior nationals performance in 2014, where she was 8th with a 48.783.

Perdok turns 16 in April and trains at Topsport Noord. I really enjoy her on beam, where she shows great style with all of her skills both in her acrobatics and dance elements, but she is a bit inconsistent and you can see her second-guessing herself in most of her routines, which leads to falls.

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Overall, this routine from 2015 is probably one of her strongest in terms of hitting, if you just ignore the crazy wolf turn fall at the beginning. You can get a sense of the kind of beam worker she can be on a good day, so it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t fully trust herself, leading to wobbles and other deductions throughout.

Mandy Mohamed

An Egyptian-Dutch gymnast who trains at SV Pax Haarlemmermeer, Mandy Mohamed had a pretty low-key year in 2015, performing on one event at the Flanders International Team Challenge in the spring and then withdrawing from the competition at nationals due to injury.

Mohamed returned to competition at the end of the year, helping her team to victory at the Hamburg Gymnastics international meet in November. In Hamburg, Mohamed competed well on all of her events, showing clean but low-difficulty work. It will be difficult for her to challenge any of the more experienced seniors enough to be a contender for the Olympic Games this summer, but she has a great natural talent and a real passion for the sport…and I’d be interested to see if she’ll follow in the footsteps of Sherine El Zeiny, who trains in the Netherlands but represents Egypt internationally.

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Mahgoub on bars in Hamburg last November.

Everyone Else

The other gymnasts from the Netherlands who became seniors in 2016 include Noa Claver, Olessya Dadema, Mirte de Reiger, Bente Kruizinga, Esmee Parinussa, Christine Tol, and Eline Vos. Of these, there isn’t really anyone who can factor in, mostly due to low difficulty – like, most of these ladies have start values in the 2-3 range on bars and no one breaches a 5.0 on any event, making it impossible to contend with the best in the country no matter how talented they are.

Article by Lauren Hopkins

8 thoughts on “The New Seniors: Netherlands

  1. What amazes me about this quad is the low amount of first year seniors who are contenders for their respective Olympic teams. Honestly i see a maximum of 6 gymnasts from top countries who can make the team.

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    • Very true! I think Belgium is the only country right now that will really rely on new seniors this year. The rest might have one senior who ends up making it, but there’s no one really who will be a game-changer outside of Belgium. MAYBE someone like Tabea Alt for Germany, but even she’s pretty consistent despite having a beam they could really make use of if she’s actually hitting. Otherwise I can’t think of anyone who will be a huge contender.

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  2. Are you going to do one of these for the US girls? I know they get the most exposure for about 99% of the gymternet, but it would be interesting to get your perspective on them.

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