Before the World Cup final in the 10 kilometers, Sharon van Rouwendaal was convinced that she could win. She felt she was in top form and lived up to her own expectations with the gold. Yet she sat at breakfast in the morning feeling nauseous.
“A few times in your career you have the feeling that you are going to win and I had that feeling today,” Van Rouwendaal said on Saturday after her golden race in Doha. After almost two hours she was just ahead of the Spanish María de Valdés.
“I had trained very well and felt very confident. I knew I could win and that I was not just looking for an Olympic starting permit,” Van Rouwendaal said. “During the race too, I constantly thought it was possible. I was almost always in the right position.”
Although thirty-year-old Van Rouwendaal felt very good, there was still some stress in the morning. “I just had to do it for a while and that feeling came in. It made me feel nauseous at breakfast. I suspect it was due to the stress.”
Van Rouwendaal had to follow a training buddy
During the race, Van Rouwendaal, who already became world champion in 2022, was at the front almost the entire time. She had the feeling that the world title was in it. She only had some concerns in the final round, when Moesha Johnson from Australia escaped.
“I know she has enormous acceleration,” said Van Rouwendaal. “There was a gap of 10 meters to Johnson, my training buddy in Magdeburg. She lives with me and we are best friends. I knew she can swim well at a pace.”
Van Rouwendaal closed the gap and was subsequently grateful to her training buddy. “I had to choose a side and knew that Mo was the weakest in the sprint. She brought me forward well. My tapping wasn’t even that good, but I knew I was ahead. Then you can make a mistake. “
Her second world title means a lot to Van Rouwendaal. “People will say: you should not win now, but later in Paris. But I also like this. If I come third at the Games, then so be it. No one will take this title away from me.”