With the scoreline of 9-27 in the final against Chinese Taipei, as Taiwan is called in sports events, the Netherlands secured their 11th Korfball World Cup title. Despite facing an unfamiliar foe which is Chinese Taipei – who became the first non-European team to reach the final of the Korfball World Cup – the Netherlands cruised to victory. The two World Cup debutants Sanne van der Werff (25, Medicine) and Bo Oppe (24, Financial Economics) faced the likes of Brazil, Catalonia, Czech Republic, England and Slovakia.

Light work

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Sanne and Bo with the World Cup. Image credit: Own photo

That korfball is a Dutch sport, was proven again during this tournament: international opponents were no match to the title holders. Despite playing in their first World Cup, Sanne and Bo played with confidence throughout the tournament. “We first went into the group phase, and that was very easy. I know we had to work a bit harder, but it’s easier to win a world championship than the national championship”, admits Sanne.

One of the few difficulties Sanne and Bo faced was maintaining discipline despite facing minimal threat from their opponents. “The most challenging part is to be the best version of yourself despite little competition”, says Sanne. “It has to be fun to watch because you win with big numbers, so you’re also trying to impress the crowd.”

A memorable first

Bo’s experience in Dutch Korfball also made it easy for him to play throughout the tournament. However, as it was his first international experience, he reflects on his journey with a sense of pride. “When I first heard the national anthem in my first match, I was thinking back on all the training hours I put in”, reveals Bo. “I looked at my teammates, took in the moment, and I was like ‘Yeah, I trained so much for this, lets go!’”

Despite the team scoring triple the number of points against the finalist, Bo faced a challenge. As the hosts played the final on their own ground, local fans were vocal in the final. “We had to make sure we were prepared for the noise we were going to face”, confesses Bo. The whole arena was sold out, so we knew that if they were going to get the crowd involved, we needed to be ready.”