Well known for its tulip fields, wooden shoes, orange-clad fans, and occasional adult entertainment, the Netherlands is also home to the best women’s field hockey team on the planet. This summer as the Dutch take the field at Rio 2016, they’ll roll out an impressive cast, headed by standout Lidewij Welten. There, the world-class midfielder will lead an experienced and hungry unit that has come to expect nothing short of gold.
Having won the past two Olympic Games as well as the field hockey World Cup in 2014, the Dutch will enter the 2016 Olympics as the gold medal favorite. On the roster are four former International Field Hockey (FIH) players of the year, including Welten, who claimed last year’s prestigious honor. The leader of this year’s well-oiled Dutch machine, Welten has amassed 104 appearances and 25 goals for the Netherlands ever since representing her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics just days after turning 18. Fast forward to 2016 and the 26-year-old’s rise to stardom is undoubtedly a major reason why the Netherlands are the team to beat this year. Her technical play and savvy artistry have provided the Dutch with a dynamic goal scorer ready to change the game at any moment.
It’s no surprise why fans around the globe have been quick to laud her exploits. Welten’s development into the finest player in the world has seen her acquire an enviable set of attacking and playmaking Skills. On top of that, her mentality is perhaps just as noteworthy. An intense competitor, Welten is hardly one to accept defeat. Despite a broken hand during the 2014 World Cup, she still suited up for the Oranje and willed them to victory. Her sheer toughness and unrivaled game-changing ability make her undeniably Athlete CRUSH worthy.
As the field hockey schedule kicks off in Brazil, all eyes will be on the Dutch squad. And if they weren’t enough reason to tune in, Welten certainly is. Playing with a palpable intensity and unmatched impact on the game, Welten is a true competitor capable of putting on a show. Although claiming a third consecutive gold may be easier said than done, when Welten is on the field, all bets are on.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 14 August 2016