By Eric van der Burg, Alderperson for sports, City of Amsterdam

Last week, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro began. As the City of Amsterdam’s alderperson for sports, I am particularly excited about seeing our Amsterdam athletes perform. No fewer than ten members of the Dutch women’s hockey team are from Amsterdam, and our city is also well represented in the disciplines of rowing and swimming.

I’m really looking forward to the athletics event as well, with several top Dutch athletes, such as Dafne Schippers and Jamile Samuel, competing. In June of this year, Amsterdam had the privilege of staging the European Athletics Championships in a sold-out Olympic Stadium. It was a wonderful event, and for many athletes it served as a ‘test run’ for the Olympics. How marvelous it would be if not only Schippers and Samuel, but also Churandy Martina and Sifan Hassan, managed to repeat or even surpass their results in the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium at the games in Rio.

It’s good to remember that our top athletes once started training at a local sports club. That’s why I’m so pleased that the Jeugdsportfonds (Youth Sports Fund) is one of the beneficiaries of the 4K 4Charity Fun Run at IBC 2016. Parents who are on a tight budget can apply for funding to help pay their children’s sports club membership fees. This makes sports more accessible to more children, and sports and exercise will help them grow up to become healthy Amsterdam citizens – and perhaps even our Olympic heroes of the future.

Whether this is your first-ever race or your goal is to improve your personal record, I wish all participants in the 4K 4Charity Fun Run the best of luck on 10 September. And in case you’re still looking for running routes to train on: the City of Amsterdam has recently opened an uninterrupted route of 3.2 kilometers in Flevopark. Add a few hundred meters more, and you’ve already reached 4km.

See you on 10 September!