No Games for Kupers just yet

Runner Thijmen Kupers won the national outdoor title for the 800 metre event on Sunday, yet he was extremely disappointed at the end of the race: he did not manage to place for the Olympic Games. But there is hope for him yet.

The 24-year-old student, who will start his transition programme for the human machine communication master next year, had a time of 1:45.25, which was five hundredths of a second short of the time required to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Last year, Thijmen Kupers came very close to being able to go to Brazil this summer. Eight hundredths of a second stood between him and a prestigious ticket to the Games. Sunday brought even more sour grapes. After a strong race, Kupers was the first to cross the finish line, leaving his competitors in his dust. One quick glance at the board and he fell to the ground: short again.

In the spring, Kupers was still hoping to obtain a bib number. ’I should just get that time in early on in the season so as to ensure that trying to get it won’t be at the expense of the European Championships. A final at the Olympic Games will be tricky. It also depends on my development. I think I can get closer to a time of 1:44, but the question remains whether that’ll be enough’, he said to the Universiteitskrant at the time.

One more chance

But not all hope is lost. Kupers has one more chance to get to Rio anyway. In two and a half weeks, the best European runners in the 800 metres will come to Amsterdam for the European Championship. Kupers is expecting a fast race, where the competition will push him to run just that little bit faster.

‘I’d rather get a medal than just to qualify’, he said Monday morning in De Volkskrant. Only to add: ‘To get a medal I have to qualify, though.’ The runner will probably have a hard time taking his mind off it, because if he loses this opportunity, he will have to wait four more years for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.