Hockey star Hidde proves school inspiration


Hockey international Hidde Turkstra is training harder than ever before, as he bids for a starting position in the Dutch national side bound for the Rio Olympics in August. The HC Rotterdam defender has been an international regular for three years, and was part of the EuroHockey Nations Championship-winning team in London last year.

But Hidde knows that in top-flight sport there is no room for sentiment. Already named in the 22-man preliminary squad for Rio 2016, Hidde must wait until the end of June to hear whether he has earned a seat on the plane to Brazil.

Now among the hockey pro elite, Turkstra is a former Samskip intern, and a Hogeschool Rotterdam graduate in Commercial Economics whose thesis focused on logistics at Europe Container Terminal. He maintains links with former colleagues and is convinced that, when his playing days are over, he will use the valuable insights gained at Samskip in a business career.  

For the moment, though, Hidde is all about hockey. Commendably, then, he found time in a schedule that currently includes nine training sessions a week to take charge of a special children's hockey clinic at Feyenoord on June 1 for the Rotterdam branch of the IMC Weekendschool.

The event was a centrepiece in Samskip's sponsoring commitment to IMC Weekendschool, the organisation which invites passionate professionals to inspire children aged 10 to 14 from underprivileged backgrounds to broaden their career horizons.

“It was a privilege to tell these kids what I've been doing as a professional sportsman as part of this scheme, because it is all about opening their eyes to what the future could hold for them,” says Hidde.  “It was a nice afternoon, and for me it's always a pleasure to get kids involved in hockey by showing them the game on the pitch. Hockey is still growing in the Netherlands, especially among the youth. We're a small nation, but we are the country with the most hockey players in the world.” 

As he waits to hear whether he is on the flight for Brazil, Hidde already knows what others expect, if dreams are to become Olympic reality. Last summer, a new national coaching team laid out what the Dutch national side would need to aim for to turn the silver medals they took home from London 2012 and the 2014 World Cup into Rio gold.

For Turkstra, the team-talk was a turning point: he put his outside career completely on hold. “For me, now, everything is about Rio,” he says. “Of course I'm anxious over whether I'm going to be in the team but from my side I know there's been no holding back. Everything is on the line.”

Samskip is a proud sponsor of IMC Weekendschool and its work to help underprivileged children acquire self-confidence and a sense of inclusion in Dutch society. We're also delighted to introduce ourselves to the next generation as a company recognising the value of team play.

Read more about the event here.

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