9 September 2023


European Judo Championships Juniors The Hague 2023


“WELKOM IN JUDOSTAD DEN HAAG.” The Zuidenpark sports campus is upside down. Every child in the Netherlands knows Jan VAN DER MEULEN, or rather his voice. “GAAT ALLES GOED?” The 51-year-old sports presenter is an institution at the speed skating events in Heerenveen and the Amsterdam Marathon, or more precisely in a total of 14 different sports. When he lets loose vocally, it leaves no Dutchman cold. Not even in The Hague.

Actually, a colleague had been booked as a guest presenter. When he had to cancel at short notice, Jan didn’t hesitate for a second. “I recently also presented the Para Judo European Championships in Rotterdam. I am not a judo expert, but I am familiar with the basics. First and foremost, my job is about getting the audience going. You don’t need to know the judo rules for that.”

On this afternoon, “the voice of Heerenveen” grabs Margit DE VOOGD to briefly explain the judo ABC to the audience. The 25-year-old has trained as a sports instructor. She has the necessary know-how and finds the right words. In 2018, she stood on the mat herself at a Junior European Championship in Sofia and won silver. In June this year, Margit won the Madrid European Open. “Judo is my life,” she says. Jan Van der Meulen makes a few hand signals towards the stands and the audience cheers.

“Jan is an absolute full professional, it’s fun to moderate with him,” says Christian Freese. The 46-year-old German is the judo voice at all EJU events. He makes the official announcements (in English), knows the run-down inside out. Together they provide plenty of goosebump moments. Until Sunday. Then Jan Van der Meulen will concentrate on other sports again. The speed skating season is just around the corner. For Dutchmen, an event of a special kind. Jan Van der Meulen will be ready.

Author: EJU Media