“I never expected this when I was scouted 2016. I am proud to have achieved all this”


Elise van Es from the Netherlands, the T33 World Number 1, told us how she was introduced to wheelchair racing and about her journey with the sport so far.

My name is Elise van Es and I am 20 years old and I am from the Netherlands. I have cerebral palsy and a autoimmune disease. I started wheelchair racing in 2016. I came in contact with wheelchair racing on a paralympic talent day in 2016. I went there because I was no longer allowed to play wheelchair basketball due to a autoimmune disease.

On the talent day I was scouted for athletics and after three return days I was told in March 2017 that I was included in the Dutch talent team. Then I went to train once a month at Papendal and I also trained three times a week at my own athletics club. Once I got my own racing wheelchair, my times progressed so much that I was allowed to train once a week at Papendal, so my technique improved quickly. In 2018 I eventually trained three days a week with the talent team at Papendal.

With the talent team I went to the grand prix in Berlin and I was internationally classified as T33. At the grand prix of Berlin I won gold once and silver twice. Shortly afterwards I was invited by the English Athletics to participate in the Muller Anniversary Games in the Olympic stadium in London, here I was allowed to race against the top of the T34. This was the most fun moment in my sport so far. Now that I am almost four years further, I am Dutch champion in the 100, 200 and 400m and I have Dutch records in the 100, 200, 400 and 800m. In 2018 and 2019 I was number 1 in the world rankings in my T33 class.

I never expected this when I was scouted 2016. I am proud to have achieved all this. In addition to wheelchair racing, I now also do shot put and I hope to achieve good results in this as well. I wonder what the future will bring for me because my ultimate goal is to one day reach the paralympic games.