Whether or not a European Championship for Vetter? Father and daughter are far from agreed


NOS SportWednesday, 08:57

  • Luuk Blijboom

    NOS editor in Eugene, Oregon

  • Luuk Blijboom

    NOS editor in Eugene, Oregon

It was the day after the seven events that all-around athlete Anouk Vetter shuffled stiffly across the campus of the University of Oregon. Mentally wrung out and still physically exhausted, she grimaced around her temporary home in Eugene.

Wherever she went, father and trainer Ronald Vetter was never far away. He recognized the aches and pains his daughter was experiencing all too well. “The body is mad at her.”

Bad plan

Both looked back and, above all, looked ahead. Whether Vetter will participate in the European title fight in Munich next month? Yes, the athlete laughed. “Why not?”

We’re just not going to put a laxative in Thiam’s coffee.

Ronald Vetter, coach and father of all-around star Anouk Vetter, on the question whether the Belgian topper Thiam can be defeated

Ronald Vetter had a remarkably less positive answer to that rhetorical question. “Because it’s a bad plan,” he ruled. The 66-year-old Amsterdammer referred to the scene that took place outside the Hayward Field Stadium on Monday evening after the game. “When we walked back from the stadium to our rooms, the European Championship suddenly came up. ‘I don’t know whether it is such a good plan to start there,’ Anouk said then.”

At the start of the post-Olympic season, Ronald Vetter made a schedule with the most important competitions of the 2022 year on it. “And the European championships were not on that.”

It was not without reason that he did not circle in red in his agenda 17 and 18 August, the days on which the all-around in Munich is scheduled. “This is Eugene, this is what it’s about. You have to perform here, because this is a global tournament.”

Inferior Tournament

He just wanted to say this. “With all due respect for the performances that will be delivered at the European Championships, but in my opinion that is an inferior tournament. Second choice. Here in Eugene the best athletes in the world come together. Why would you have another all-around one month later? to do?”

In his view, three heptathlons in one year is the absolute maximum that an athlete’s body can handle. Vetter started in May during the famous Hypomeeting in Götzis and completed the all-around event of her life on the American west coast. “She has done a unique performance here,” said her father.


Meerkamp star Anouk Vetter wins silver at the World Championships in Eugene

He understands the enthusiasm of his 29-year-old daughter, he emphasizes. “For her, athletics is emotion. You can bet that the Germans will organize a nice tournament next month. Anouk thinks such a European Championship is great. But starting in Munich is pure looting on your body. A heptathlon is an unimaginable burden.”

With a sense of exaggeration: “Walking 100 meters is a piece of cake. You do your thing and you’re ready. In the all-around you have to be good part after part. It’s like taking four final exams the next day. And that while you have just as much time to do your homework as that sprinter in the 100 meters.”

Around the table

Let it be clear, he hastened to add. “In the end, it is she who decides whether she participates in the European Championship. As a coach, it is my job to filter emotions and rely on reason. Oh well, Anouk and I should sit down at the table in a week. Then see we’ll move on.”

This is how Anouk Vetter won silver in the heptathlon:

Silver for Vetter, World Cup gold for Thiam: denouement heptathlon

Anouk Vetter is by nature not ideally built for the tour of seven parts, he says. “She’s not an aerobic athlete, someone who needs endurance. It’s puppy power. One and all explosiveness. She’s extremely strong.”

Deep in his heart he would be only too happy to see his daughter in Munich as a pure enthusiast. If only because the European title fight will be the last tournament of Charles van Commenée, the outgoing head coach of the Athletics Union.


The respect between the two Amsterdammers is great. The two sixties complement each other, says Ronald Vetter. “Charles puts pressure on everyone. Athletes and coaches. It sometimes seems as if he is raising children.”

Also in Eugene, Ronald Vetter eagerly hitched a ride on the knowledge of Van Commenée, who trained the British world champion on the heptathlon Denise Lewis between 2008 and 2012.

“That man has so much experience, why shouldn’t I use it? I have now reached an age where it is no problem for me to put my ego aside. Or to ask colleagues for help. If you can’t do that , you are not a trainer but a faggot.” Laughing: “In fact, most coaches are huge flap turds.”

Vetter looks back on silver all-around: ‘This is a very good silver medal’

Another reason to travel to Bavaria next month is the opportunity to compete again with Nafi Thiam, the Belgian world and Olympic champion. Because in the Dutch camp there is one repetitive question, says Ronald Vetter. “How are you supposed to beat it?”


The answer is guesswork. Patience is a virtue. That much is clear. “We made her nervous during this World Cup. That is something in any case.”

To ask the question is to answer it, it seems. “Can you beat her? Difficult. If she makes a mistake, yes. But if she pulls off a flawless heptathlon? Impossible.” There is only one thing left for Anouk Vetter, he says. “She has to keep doing her best day and night. Only then will she have a chance. We’re not going to put a laxative in Thiam’s coffee.”