Kelly Hoyng-Jonker: ‘Orange is a closed book’

Sunday afternoon, Oranje-Rood against Pinoké. In the circle, the tip-in-queen lurks for the ball like a heron on a goldfish. Above number 23, her white shirt only shows Hoyng, her husband’s last name. The name Jonker is missing. As if she symbolically left her hockey life before her comeback ( 168 international matches, 68 goals ) behind.

After her pregnancy and since her return to the Hoofdklasse, her new club Pinoké played seven league games. Hoyng-Jonker missed two of them because she was in quarantine. In a doubles weekend, she also skipped a game because she was not fit enough to play hockey on both Friday and Sunday. Thus, the game in which she first fully participated in the substitution schedule against hdm on October 11, was only her fourth league game for Pinoké. And her last for now. Corona then stopped the big league.

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Kelly Hoyng-Jonker laughs after she made the 2-2 against Orange-Red last Sunday. Photo: Willem Vernes

To be honest, it didn’t even come out that bad for me that the competition was stopped. I am fitter now than I was in October and November.

‘I only played competition again five months after I gave birth. That I succeeded is actually quite special. But of course, I was still a long way from my top level. Or at least the level that I wanted to achieve ‘, Hoyng-Jonker looks back on the first half of the competition, in which she scored one goal. ‘To be honest, it was not even so bad for me that the competition was stopped. I have used the last few months to catch up. I am fitter now than I was in October and November. ‘

At Pinoké she came across an old acquaintance of hers: Doris van der Laan. She is an exercise physiologist at the KNHB and has collected all kinds of data from Hoyng-Jonker at Oranje over the years. It was easy to see how far the striker was from her top level in those first matches. She hadn’t even lost much on her fitness, but on her start and sprint speed. Her most important weapons to get in front of her husband at the right time and to tip the ball in.

Hoyng-Jonker used the past hockey-free months by doing many short sprints on the training field. ‘As a result, my start and sprint speed have improved. Compared to a few years ago, it only saves a few tenths of a second. Now I mainly need competition rhythm to get to my top level. If I ever make it again. That’s how honest I have to be. I am thirty years old, not 26 anymore. What I especially hope is that I can reach a level that allows me to be important to the team. That was not the case in October. Fortunately, that is now starting to happen. Now I do come in front of my opponent. ‘

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Kelly Hoyng-Jonker tips the 2-2 against Oranje-Rood last Sunday. Photo: Willem Vernes

Goal against Oranje-Rood

It is around half past one on Sunday afternoon when a ball hits the Oranje-Rood circle from the left. Her instinct will do the rest. The Olympic champion and two-time world champion estimates where the ball is going, hits exactly the right place for her husband and puts her stick against the ball: 2-2.

Almost automatically thoughts go back to the many almost identical goals she made in Orange. Partly due to injuries, Hoyng-Jonker was not always sure of a place in the Dutch national team, but she always fought back into the team. She was a cat with nine lives.

I never had the ambition to play for Orange again

Halfway through July, when Pinoké announced her comeback, she said about a possible return to the Dutch team : “I cannot see the future, so I do not rule out a return to Orange.” Now she takes away all doubts. ‘I never had the ambition to play for the Orange again. What I meant is you never know what’s coming your way. ‘

But now that the Olympic Games (23 July-8 August) are approaching, is Orange a closed book? ‘Yes. I started playing hockey at Pinoké because I believe in the team and the path they have taken. Not because I wanted to play in Orange again. The European Championship was my last tournament. I am proud, happy and grateful for what I was able to experience, but at a certain point, it was good. ‘

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