In the medal rankings of the Olympic Games, the Netherlands is now almost standard in the sub-top. This position is the result of good infrastructure. Athletes who follow the Olympic route receive optimal support every day at a Center for Elite Sports and Education (CTO). From 2018, Rotterdam, together with The Hague and Dordrecht, form the CTO Metropolitan Region.
Becoming an international elite athlete is about more than just talent and a well-thought out training schedule. The way to the top also includes plenty of rest, facilities for strength training, balanced medical guidance and improving by training with your peers. Through CTOs, the sports umbrella organization NOC * NSF invests in all necessary preconditions to increase the chance of Olympic medals for Dutch athletes.
CTO Metropolitan Region
Up until now, the Netherlands had the following CTO’s: Papendal, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Heerenveen. This now includes a fifth: the CTO Metropolitan Region, a collaboration between the cities of Rotterdam, The Hague and Dordrecht. This is a great boost for Rotterdam as a sports city, says director Hans den Oudendammer of Rotterdam Topsport. "We can contribute to the elite sports climate in the Netherlands. We already have several talent centers in the city where young athletes can train on the highest level. But if they want to reach Olympic level, they had to leave Rotterdam. Now we can set up more national programs here."
Hans den Oudendammer already has an idea which sports are the perfect candidates for these national programs. "The Hague offers accommodation for sailing and beach volleyball. Rotterdam concentrates on martial arts, which have a longstanding history in the city. For example, we are the boxing city of the Netherlands – we have some of the most successful boxing schools, and the sport is supported by all layers of the population. But we also have good facilities for taekwondo, judo and karate. We are of course dependent on which Association comes to us for support, but we see plenty of opportunities. "
"Our elite sports policy in the city goes back 27 years, the sport culture is enormous.
Whichever sport it will be, Rotterdam wants to welcome world-class athletes from a number of different sports. Den Oudendammer: "Our elite sports policy in the city goes back 27 years, the sport culture is enormous. But there is always a need for idols and icons. Now we can ensure that the elite athletes come to Rotterdam for training, living and education. I see the presence of clubs, the development of young talent and the attracting the elite as a trinity – in combination with professional sports events. Without the elite, Rotterdam is not complete as a sports city. Everything we have built in the city gets a bigger meaning now that we are part of a CTO."