Jessica Schilder (21) is one of the greatest shot-put talents in the Netherlands. Jessica has already participated in a number of major tournaments and has even become Dutch seniors champion three times and her greatest achievement is qualifying for the Olympics. On 5 march 2021, she qualified herself for the Olympics with a throw of 18.69. This summer, she will shine in Tokyo during the Olympics.
‘’When I was 7, I first came into contact with the fantastic sport of athletics. My friends already practiced this sport and that is why I thought it would be great to participate in their training sessions. After a number of training sessions and competitions I turned out to have a talent for the throwing section. But the choice to really focus on shot-put wasn’t made yet.
In 2013 my trainer, Hans Arnhard, and I decided to participate at the NK in the Olympic stadium in Amsterdam. This was my first Dutch Championship and we left with the thought: ‘we'll see how far we get’. During this NK, I actually found out that I was really good at shot-put. My first title ‘Dutch champion’ was a fact!
A year later I was selected for my first international competition against Germany. After that I played every year at European and World Championships. One of the best prizes I have received is certainly my silver medal at the European Youth Olympic Games in Tbilisi, Georgia. Such a victory motivates me every day to complete the tough training sessions and do whatever it takes to get to the top.
All these great achievements did not come naturally. A lot of training is required to achieve my goals. I currently train six days a week. My body is sometimes exhausted and then a workout is quite intense. Then I cry for a moment, but I think about my goals and just keep on going. However, it is not only the training that makes me better. Not that many people know that I also have to pay a lot of attention to my diet. To maintain my level, I have to eat 4000 calories every day. This is quite intense if you are used to eating 1500 to 2000 calories in a day. Fortunately, there are always people who support me in this. The ‘Ringen om Volendam’ organization supports me on my way to the top, but my friends and family also know what I have to do to get to where I want to be. They always take this into account.
My dream is to give shot-put a little more attention in the Netherlands, because far too little attention is paid to it. Of course I want to participate in many more World Cups and European Championships and my goal to one day participate in the Olympics has finally come true. My biggest dream is to make shot-put my profession. This is possible, so I train harder every day with these goals in mind.
There are many more people who also have dreams just like me. I want to point out to them that there can be very deep troughs, but there are many high peaks to make up for that. Where there's a will, there is a way.