05 Jul 2024

Dutch table tennis star Britt Eerland, has scripted a remarkable comeback story, earning her a new nickname “Supermom”. Stepping away from the sport in 2023 to welcome her daughter, Britt has returned with renewed focus and secured a coveted spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, her third appearance at the Games after Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

Britt’s path back to the table is an inspiration. Her victory over Slovakia’s Barbara Balazova at the 2024 European Olympic Singles Qualification Tournament in Sarajevo cemented her place in Paris. This win transcends the sport, showcasing the resilience and dedication of athletes juggling professional aspirations with personal journeys. It’s a testament to the pursuit of excellence that lies at the heart of Olympism.

Maintaining physical fitness played a crucial role in Britt’s swift return. “While I stopped intensive training in December 2022, I stayed active with yoga and pregnancy exercises,” she explains. “Consulting a pelvic floor physiotherapist and following the Sterkher program also helped me stay prepared.” This commitment to fitness proved invaluable. “Overall, my pregnancy was positive. While I experienced some early nausea, training helped manage it. Later stages were enjoyable, and I felt great.”

Just four months postpartum, Britt was back on the court, her Olympic dream rekindled. The ITTF’s Ranking Protection Policy played a vital role in her comeback. Prior to her maternity leave, Britt’s ranking stood at #210, not high enough for automatic entry into major events like the Singapore Smash (minimum ranking #169).

Britt Eerland made her first appearance at Rio 2016.

The ITTF’s Ranking Protection Policy ensures players like Britt can prioritize their personal milestones without jeopardizing their competitive careers. By preserving a player’s ranking for a limited period during pregnancy and maternity leave, the policy allows athletes like Britt to return to the sport and compete at a high level once they are ready.

In Britt’s case, Ranking Protection allowed her to enter the WTT Contender events and other qualifying tournaments based on her pre-maternity leave ranking, even though her current ranking may not reflect her full competitive potential. This access to crucial tournaments provided Britt with the opportunity to showcase her skills and earn valuable ranking points, ultimately paving the way for her qualification for the Paris Olympics.

Britt’s late 2023 and early 2024 return to the international circuit, featuring participation in several WTT events, showcased her undiminished talent and unwavering determination. Her story highlights the importance of support systems for athletes and the impact of policies like Ranking Protection. Dedication, hard work, and the right structures can help athletes achieve their dreams, both on and off the table. Her journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring Olympians everywhere, demonstrating that the Olympic spirit thrives not only in competition but also in the dedication and perseverance required to reach the world’s biggest stage.

Follow as we celebrate Britt’s remarkable journey to Paris 2024 and witness her fight for Olympic glory. Her story is one of courage, perseverance, and a love for the sport that transcends even life’s most significant moments, and perfectly embodies the true spirit of the Olympic Games.

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