Photo: Badminton Photo
Selena Piek: I also felt the pain
Date: 4/2/2020 1:56 PM
Published by : BEC Staff

European Games gold medallist, Selena Piek, has been a consistent feature on the elite European stage, but the last few years have seen a big change in her career. 

Piek, 28, first emerged onto the scene when winning a gold and silver at the 2009 European Junior Championships in Milan, the same year we first got a glimpse of Carolina Marin. Piek won the gold with Jacco Arends, which subsequently formed a power pairing for the Netherlands. But Piek describes the big changes that have occurred in the last year and a half.

- It has been an emotional rollercoaster. There have been major changes since the start of 2019 as we had to adapt to a new coaching situation, and I got the opportunity to partner up with Robin Tabeling, as Jacco got injured. What started as a try-out led to a partnership change as Robin and I produced great results from the start. I was very happy with the results and level we had been showing, but I also felt the pain of leaving Jacco as we had been partners since I was 14 years old. 

Read: The Russian who became Israeli

A new partner can change all that 

There have been some significant changes all around the Dutch national team, Piek explains what these key changes have been. 

- We went from former coaches Kent Madsen and Jonas Lyduch to Ruud Bosch and we got a new technical director who had a refreshing view. Unfortunately, he left for his dream job a few months later.

It is often said that doubles partnerships need to be given the opportunity to mature over time, gathering the experience to gain a mutual understanding with their partner. However, it seems that Piek and Tabeling have broken this trend by achieving such great results so soon. Piek sheds some like on how a new partner can change things like this. 

- Sometimes a change can lead to new things and different opportunities. It can boost your motivation; change your daily habits and you need to develop new skills as you are dealing with a different person. When you have been playing with a partner for so long you have developed certain routines and patterns and you tend to stick in your comfort zone. A new partner can change all that.

Read: New dates for Tokyo Olympic Games

Deliver the best Selena

Badminton, as we all know, is an extremely demanding sport physically and mentally. As a result, increasingly players assess their future options earlier. Even in their late 20’s like Piek had done. However, here she is playing at the top level in two categories. Asking if the change perhaps should have come sooner, Piek responds. 

- No, I don't think I should have done it earlier as I have been struggling a lot with injuries and mental health before that. Mentally I wasn't in the right place, so I wasn't ready for such a change. 

Now it is clear for all to see that Piek, with Robin Tabeling in mixed doubles, and Cheryl Seinen in women’s doubles, is on the right track. Piek ends by thinking about what the next year and a half could bring?

- Good question! Things have been put into another perspective now that the Olympic Games have been moved. Since its exactly one and a half years away from writing this, you can expect me to do whatever it takes to qualify and to deliver the best Selena I can be in that period. Hopefully, that means that we will break into the top 10, win medals at the European Championship and a chance to shine at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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