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Dutch Gymnast Ruikes Revels in 2014 Success
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International Gymnast Online continues its annual series of holiday-themed features with this profile on Dutch gymnast Maartje Ruikes, who told IG she was inspired by her achievements in 2014 that included a successful debut at the world championships.

"2014 was a great year for me," Ruikes said. "Still returning from a serious hip injury, in the beginning of this year I managed to qualify for the European championships team. Unfortunately I was only a reserve, but this gave me a lot of energy to continue my recovery. After that I won the silver medal in the all-around at the Dutch championships. Nevertheless, my greatest moment was being part of the Dutch team at the world championships in China. This was my first world championships, with an outstanding result that I am very proud of."

Maartje Ruikes (The Netherlands)

Ruikes said she was pleased by her team and her own performances at the worlds, held in October in Nanning. She placed 40th all-around in qualifications, where the Dutch team finished 10th. The top 24 gymnasts (maximum two per country) advanced to the all-around final, and the top eight teams advanced to the team final.

"We did quite well in Nanning," said the 18-year-old Ruikes, who trains under coaches Marja Huijting and Edwin Zegers at GTV de Hazenkamp in Nijmegen. "Nobody expected our team to reach 10th place. After the first qualification day we were even dreaming about getting into the finals. My personal ranking also gave me a lot of satisfaction - becoming second of the Dutch team, and 40th place in the world ranking was great."

Ruikes said the Dutch team has the potential to ascend in the rankings at the 2015 worlds in Glasgow.

"To move closer to the top, we have to improve our D-scores (difficulty) and our E-scores (execution)," she said. "And of course we all have to stay healthy and make no mistakes."

2015 will be an important year for Ruikes, in and out of the gym.

"I hope to succeed in my exams," she said. "With respect to gymnastics, my goal is to qualify for the European Games (in Baku in June) and after that for the world championships in Glasgow. These worlds are very important for Olympic qualification. I really hope to make the Olympic team."
Ruikes intends to enjoy a few days off during the holiday season.

"During the Christmas holidays we have some 'gymnastics-free' days," she said. "I hope to spend this time with my parents, my sister and two brothers. We don't see each other very often as a complete family, so this is very valuable time for me."

Although Ruikes has big plans for herself in 2015, she avoids designating any New Year's resolutions.

"I actually don't have these New Year's resolutions," she told IG. "I hope to continue the life I am living right now and stay successful in all aspects of life."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Dutch gymnasts includes:

"Her Finest Hour" – Renske Endel interview (May 2002)
"Miracles Do Happen" – Imke Glas profile (May 2008)
"Double Dutch" – Suzanne Harmes/Yuri van Gelder profiles (May 2006)
"Fresh Start" - Loes Linders profile (April 2006)
"Patient and Persistent" - Tahnee Masela profile (September 2006)
Tess Moonen on cover photo collage (July/August 2010)
"Comebacks Complete" – Verona van de Leur/Jeffrey Wammes profiles (September 2007)
"Fame Resistant" – Verona van de Leur cover story (May 2002)
"Power Trip" - Yuri van Gelder profile (January/February 2009)
van Gelder two-page center poster (June 2008)
"Just Verdict" – Céline van Gerner interview (June/July 2012)
Ready to Rise for the Netherlands" – Noel van Klaveren profile (June 2013)
"Destiny's Child" – Jeffrey Wammes profile (August/September 2002)
Gabriella Wammes profile (October 2009)
"Calculated Risk" – Lichelle Wong profile (May 2010)
"Perseverance Pays Off" – Lichelle Wong profile (July/August 2007)
"Skilled and Studious" - Epke Zonderland cover story (March 2014)
"The Flying Dutchman" – Zonderland interview (May 2010)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

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