Looking forward to World Dwarf Games

Anouk Hartwijk - WDG
Photo credit: Studio040

Anouk Hartwijk from Eindhoven will leave school at the end of July to participate in the biggest international tournament for little people. The 18-year-old from Eindhoven is taking part in the World Dwarf Games, for the first time.

This is a tournament in which not only experienced athletes participate, but also beginners. And this comes in handy for Anouk, because she herself is still busy mastering all the sports: “I had never played football before, so I really had to learn it during the training sessions.”

And this was sometimes quite funny, Anouk admits. “Of course you can see the growth very well, but at the beginning the level was obviously not very high. So then you all just have to laugh really hard at what goes wrong. Now things are going much better and you also give each other tips. In the end, it’s also about having a good time.”

Growth disorder

Participating in the World Games in Germany are hundreds of little people who, like Anouk, have a growth disorder. “I myself am 1.29 metres (“I always say that, so I don’t have to go on those scary rides in an amusement park, haha!”) and because of achondroplasia, mainly my arms and legs are shorter. My torso in itself is normal.

Yet the Business Studies student at Inholland University of Applied Sciences in Alkmaar does not let this put her off. “I always say, ‘I am Anouk and I have achondroplasia, but I am not achondroplasia!’ So I don’t let it determine my choices, in what I want to do.”

A meeting place

Anouk competes in football, volleyball and basketball at the World Games. As mentioned, it is not just about performing. “Many people mainly attend for fun and to get to know other people with achondroplasia. Because you generally don’t see them walking ‘in the wild’ very often. Haha! You have to know them and you have to come across them by chance. That’s precisely why it’s really nice to have a meeting place.

The World Dwarf Games start on 28 July in Cologne and last until 5 August.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Martijn



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