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13/06/2015 21:45
The constant competition within the Balkestein-Grothues family…
2015 European Games

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 13, 2015. Maret Balkestein-Grothues – who is captaining the Dutch national team at the Baku 2015 European Games – is a real competitor, both on and off the court. On court she aims for the medals with the Oranjes, and off the court she aims to beat her husband’s number of followers on Twitter.  

Around a year ago, the captain of the Dutch team at the European Games, Maret Grothues (see picture, #6), had to get a new national team shirt. The 26-year old outside spiker got married to Marcel Balkestein, one of the Netherlands’ biggest field hockey stars.   

Balkestein-Grothues became the new name constellation on the back of Maret’s orange shirt. And with a top class Volleyball player marrying a world-class Field Hockey player, you could imagine that sport filled most of the conversation.  

“We do not always talk about sport. But I admit that it fills a lot in our relationship,” Maret Balkestein-Grothues says and smiles.  

Until now, her husband has received the most media attention. For those who do not know, Field Hockey is the second largest team sport in The Netherlands after Football. And The Netherlands, with Marcel Balkestein on the team, won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

“I need to beat that,” says Maret Balkestein-Grothues with a tricky smile.

If the success will not come in Azerbaijan, The Netherlands will have another chance as they are co-hosting the women’s 2015 European Championship together with Belgium later this year.

“It is 20 years since The Netherlands hosted a European Championship for the last time. Back then we won gold. So we want to win again at home,” says Maret hoping this can increase the media awareness of Volleyball in The Netherlands.  

The couple is not only competitive on their respective courts. “We compete all the time. He has more Twitter followers than me, but I am better on Instagram,” she says while the smile becomes even bigger.

Their competitive nature is clearly done with love all the way.  

“We help each other as much as we can. And we support each other all the time. When I have finished a match, Marcel has sent me 60 or 70 messages on WhatsApp, where he comments almost on all my actions during the game. That is very sweet,” Maret says.  

“When Marcel won the Championship in The Netherlands, I was there to support him at the most important match of the year. That meant a lot to him. Unfortunately he cannot be here in Baku because he has to work,” she says.

And maybe after reading this story the Volleyball fans will help her get closer to her husband’s achievements, at least on Twitter…    

On Saturday the Netherlands won their first European Games encounter against Russia 3:1.  

News nr. 3203 of 9753
13/06/2015 22:40:00
Italy down 'Yellow Tigers' in Pool A opener, Azerbaijan get the party started at Crystal Hall, Poland upset Turkey
13/06/2015 20:21:00
Dutch, German and Serbian teams start the tournament in top form in pool B
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